Four heroic police officers have been nominated for a national bravery award after risking their lives to help rescue a couple from their burning car after a horror smash on the A49 in Shropshire.
The four men helped save the lives of Philip and Sheila Foster, from Craven Arms, after their vehicle was involved in a head-on collision with another car on the outskirts of Bayston Hill last September.
They have been nominated for the Police Bravery Awards, which will take place in London on October 16.
Constable David Williams was the first to arrive on the scene and found the passengers from the other car – William and Alice May Duff – out of their burning vehicle as the fire began to spread to Mr and Mrs Foster’s car. Both were trapped inside.
After directing members of the public to safety, he attempted to free the couple from the car with the help of Sergeant Stuart Wells, who had also arrived at the scene.
After Sergeant Wells tried and failed to put the fire out with an extinguisher, he entered the rear of the burning car and tried to slide the driver’s seat backwards. But due to the damage to the car the seat was jammed and both officers were forced back due to the heat and smoke.
Sergeant Andy Jackson then arrived on the scene and could see Mr Foster’s clothing smouldering in the intense heat and that he had severe burns to his hands.
While he focused on the driver his colleagues tried to free Mrs Foster who had sustained a partial amputation to her hand and was rapidly losing blood.
Meanwhile, Sergeant Darren Heyes attempted to separate the two cars with a tow rope to prevent the fire spreading but the rope snapped – leading him to direct other colleagues to use as many extinguishers as possible to contain the blaze.
Constable Williams then spotted an oxygen cylinder in the back of car about to explode so reached into the burning car, grabbed it and threw it into a field out of harm’s way.
The fire service tackled the blaze and completed the rescue of the couple, both of whom survived but suffered serious injuries.
Mr and Mrs Duff, who were both 93 and from Wincham near Northwich, died from the injuries they suffered in the incident.
Ken Mackaill, chairman of West Mercia Police Federation, said:“These officers had to make split second decisions in their attempts to save life and they did so without any thought for their own safety.
“I know the officers themselves do not consider they are particularly brave, but it is important to recognise their actions as they are typical of officers across the country who do not hesitate to put themselves in harm’s way when protecting the public.”