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Man survives 14-hour underwater crash ordeal using air pocket

For many motorists, the most harrowing part of a car accident is the initial pain from injuries sustained. But for one taxi driver, the initial crash was only a fraction of the ordeal.

Mike Beckford survived in his stricken car, underwater, by breathing through an air pocket
Mike Beckford survived in his stricken car, underwater, by breathing through an air pocket

44-year-old Mike Beckford reportedly veered to avoid a fox in the early hours of the morning while driving home on the A2070 in Kent on August 13th. In doing so, his red MG ZR taxi careered off the road and ended up overturned in a water-filled ditch.

“I noticed two cars coming towards me. I didn’t think anything of it but then I saw this fox in the middle of the road, just staring at me,” Mr Beckford explained. “It startled me, so I jolted. The next thing I know the car was spinning.”

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With the front half of the car submerged underwater and fear setting in, Mr Beckford was fortunate to locate an air pocket at the back of the vehicle.

“I swallowed a lot of water and it was pitch black. I got into the back seat of the car and found a small air pocket. I had no idea how long I was in the car, I couldn’t see any daylight as the car was under water.

“All I had to keep me alive was a small air pocket. I was really scared. I was struggling to breathe and I was panicking. All I could do was wait.”

Wife Lesley Beckford called the police to report her husband missing at 12:30pm

Mr Beckford repeatedly tried to call for help, but it was 14 hours later after passer by Mike Scott noticed the overturned car’s rear wheel at 3:20pm that the rescue began.

“I just saw something in the ditch out of the corner of my eye,” he said. “It could have been anything. I pulled over and called the police. They asked me to stay on the line and go and have a closer look.”

Although a lucky escape, Mr Beckford suffered internal bruising and hypothermia. He had to be hospitalised for ten days and has only just been able to speak of the ordeal.

“I wasn’t really with it when I was pulled out of the car,” taxi driver added. “I was under by then though, my body had shut down. They said another 10 minutes and I would have died.”

Mr Beckford thanked Mr Scott for saving his life and hopes to meet up with him soon.



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