Alexander Glasgow had been trying to drive his vehicle on board a ferry on the Orkney island of Shapinsay, but lost control. The 24-year-old was stuck inside the car as it rolled down the pier and into the water.
The quick thinking of retired policeman and former SNP councillor Stuart McIvor helped rescue Mr Glasgow just as his car was beginning to submerge.
Mr McIvor, 71, helped hand a lifebuoy to Mr Glasgow, before both men were helped to the shore by ferry crew. The former Metropolitan Police officer, who retired to Orkney, said he acted on impulse after seeing Mr Glasgow get into trouble.
“I was watching as he tried to get the car on to the ferry – you have to reverse on to it. Suddenly it gained speed and he couldn’t control it,” he recalled.
“The car rolled down and was in the water. Then I heard him shouting, ‘I’m trapped’. We think he caught his foot in the steering wheel. I just thought, ‘I’ve got to do something’. I don’t even remember going down the steep ferry steps.I just remember being in the water and the crew had thrown a lifebuoy so I brought that to him.” Mr McIvor, who also worked as a lifeguard, added: “He was shivering and in shock. He had managed to get halfway out the window and I just stayed with him and we got ashore.”
Will Rodger, who captured footage of the rescue incident, said: “The cars were being loaded on to the ferry when something seemed to go wrong with the car and he carried on into the water.
“It went off and the guy was struggling to open the door and then the older man jumped off the pier to get him.
“The first responders were on the scene within minutes to look after them.
“It was pretty shocking. Cars are loaded on and off these ferries every day without anything going wrong.”
It is understood that the steering or brakes could have failed on Mr Glasgow’s car, which he had only recently purchased.
His mother, Helen Richards, 52, who runs Harbour Taxis in Kirkwall, said her son was still in shock. She added: “Alexander had just bought the car on Shapinsay and was bringing it back to Kirkwall.
“I don’t think he realises what a close call he had. Someone was looking down on my son and I would like to thank the gentleman for what he did.”