A DIGGER driver was trapped in his cab as water flowed inches from his head after his JCB tumbled into a river.
Father-of-four Dave O'Hare suffered three broken ribs after his digger overturned when banking gave way next to the River Colne in Milnsbridge.
Mr O'Hare - a married man from Rawthorpe - and workmates from Huddersfield-based contractors M O'Donnell and Sons were preparing a car park to be surfaced next to lubrications company Batoyle on Colne Vale Road when the accident happened.
Mr O'Hare was close to a low wall when the ground suddenly gave way and the JCB toppled over at 11.30am yesterday.
It rolled on to the stones and debris next to the ice-cold river.
Mr O'Hare could not get out because of his injuries and the cab being overturned.
Workmate Mark Oakes rushed to help and clambered down to support Mr O'Hare's head and comfort him before the emergency services arrived.
Mr Oakes, of Newsome, said: "Dave was clearly in a lot of pain and quickly became cold. So I took my coat and fleece off and wrapped them around him.
"The river was flowing into the top of the cab, so I supported his head and kept it out of the water.
"Dave was conscious throughout and I just kept him talking."
Mr Oakes added: "The banking just collapsed and the JCB rolled over as it fell down to the river."
Paramedics and a doctor were first on the scene and stabilised Mr O'Hare's condition.
Firefighters wore lifejackets and some stood in the shallows of the river further downstream, in case any of the rescuers fell in and were swept away.
Fire crews from Huddersfield and Slaithwaite cut the windscreen out of the JCB and gently lifted Mr O'Hare on to a spineboard stretcher.
He was then lifted up two short extension ladders into the car park and taken by ambulance to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
Specialist rescue appliances from Cleckheaton and Hunslet were also mobilised.
The Yorkshire Air Ambulance was on its way to the scene, but was not needed and turned back.
Huddersfield fire station watch manager Dave Rawnsley said: "Our first priority was to stop the JCB rolling any further into the river. We attached cables to the fire engines. The rescue took 20 minutes."
Doctors found Mr O'Hare had broken three ribs. Scans were carried out to see if he had any internal injuries.
A crane from Huddersfield firm Bandshire Crane Hire lifted the JCB out of the water.