A QUICK-THINKING motorist saved a cyclist from death after a freak accident on a rural road.
The cyclist had come down steep Mortimer Road to Ewden Bridge off the Strines Road, south of Langsett in South Yorkshire when he careered into a bridge wall.
The impact hurled him over the wall and 20ft into the shallow river below.
The motorist saw what had happened at 11.50am on Friday, stopped and raced down the steep banking where he found the cyclist face down unconscious in the water.
He pulled him out and to safety and paramedics were alerted to the drama.
The Yorkshire Air Ambulance flew in to pick up the stricken rider, but the banking was too steep for the ambulance crew so they called in Hade Edge-based Woodhead Mountain Rescue Team.
They set up a rope system to haul the cyclist up the banking on a stretcher.
Team leader Keith Wakeley said: “The cyclist was certainly extremely lucky that the motorist was on the scene so quickly to save him or else this could have ended in tragedy.’’
The helicopter flew the cyclist, who comes from Oldham, to the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield where his injuries were not as severe as first feared and it was discovered he had suffered broken shoulder.
It was a busy pre-New Year for the rescue team which was called back to Mortimer Road just after 11am on New Year’s Eve after a 76-year-old farmer became unwell while checking on a water distribution problem on the moors nearby.
He had become exhausted and paramedics called in Edale and Woodhead Mountain Rescue Teams to carry him to the ambulance.
“He was cold, confused and tired,’’ said Mr Wakeley.
And the team also spent several hours searching rain-lashed and windswept Bleaklow just off Woodhead Pass in the Peak District on Friday evening after a walker went missing.
The man in his mid-30s from Sale in Manchester called for help on his mobile phone after he became disorientated and hopelessly lost in the dark. Glossop, Edale and Woodhead Mountain Rescue teams searched for him until he was discovered in a clough at the top end of West End Valley at midnight.
“He was cold, wet and tired but unhurt,’’ said Mr Wakeley. “He was taken to Glossop police station for a debriefing. The missing walker didn’t even have a map or a torch.”
He said conditions were atrocious with water at one ford flowing over the bonnet of one of the rescue vehicles.
“It was certainly grim up there,’’ he added.