An anonymous ‘angel’ who pulled a woman from the burning wreckage of her car has received a heartfelt thanks from the crash victim.
Beverley Rowley, 52, of Storrington, said she is ‘very lucky’ to be alive after her Volkswagen Polo was involved in a collision with a tree on Common Hill, West Chiltington at around midnight on Friday July 4.
Her car caught fire after the collision, but she was pulled to safety by a male passer-by.
An emotional Beverley has appealed for the man to come forward, and told the County Times she would like to have the chance to say ‘thank you’ in person.
She said: “I don’t know who that angel was but I would like to think they would maybe come forward - but sometimes people want to remain anonymous and don’t want to draw attention to themselves.
“If it wasn’t for this person I wouldn’t be here now.
“I am very grateful and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. That is all I can say.”
Beverley, who works as a carer, was in Worthing Hospital for four to five days after the collision.
She received no internal injuries from the accident, but is badly bruised and suffered a concussion, as well as neck and leg injuries.
Beverley added she has no recollection of the accident.
She said: “I dropped a friend off and I have no knowledge of what happened after that, until the police officer was tapping my face and he said ’you’re in the back of an ambulance’.
“The seatbelt took the impact and if I hadn’t been wearing it I probably would have gone through the windscreen.
“The car exploded - I am a very lucky lady.”
No other person or vehicle was involved in the collision, according to Sussex Police.
Beverley thanked the emergency services and the staff at Worthing Hospital for caring for her.
She said: “I am very grateful to be here.
“Sometimes things happen in life for a reason, and it makes you look at your life in a different aspect - life is very precious.
“When I saw the photographs in the paper I realised what I had been through.”
Speaking after the collision, Storrington fire department watch manager Martin McKilligin said she was ‘lucky’ to be alive and praised the ‘hero’ rescuer.
He said: “When we arrived the lady had already come out of the car. A passing driver managed to see the accident and dragged her out of the car. He’s a hero.
“It was a bad impact. The ruptured fuel line got into the hot engine.
“Thankfully he managed to pull the lady out. She was in a confused state and had a cut to her leg. She didn’t realise she’d been in an accident - she’s a very lucky lady.”
A West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said two breathing apparatuses were used and two hoses to extinguish the fire.
Mr McKilligin added: “It was a stroke of luck that he was there.
“We were there in eight minutes and within that time the car had erupted into flames.
“It shows you just how lucky she was and within that small amount of time in which it happened.”
The vehicle had suffered a ‘large indentation’ at the front of the car by the engine, according to Mr McKilligin.
“Cars don’t normally just catch fire like that,” he added..