Family escape uninjured after car is stranded in River Wear ford at St John's Chapel

A family have escaped uninjured after their car became stuck in a ford on the River Wear in County Durham on Saturday evening.

A male driver was discovered by walkers and runners as he attempted to exit the Volvo with three young children whilst the high water levels crashed against the vehicle.

Local resident Diana Jobling told ITV News Tyne Tees her husband had to assist in the rescue and the family were brought to her cottage as they recovered from the ordeal.

She said: "There was a runner and there was somebody doing a walk and they came across the car in the ford and the guy was getting out of the passenger side, lifting the children up to the bridge. The jogger brought the baby to the house and knocked on for us to phone the emergency, which we did do. My husband came down and then they all came to the house."

Yi Zhou and Jenny Pan saw the aftermath of the incident as they walked on a nearby path.

Mr Zhou said: "We saw a lot of blue lights shining this way. There was three police cars, one ambulance, one rescue vehicle, so I think the driver or whoever was inside were already out of the car."

Durham County Council representative for Weardale, Cllr Anita Savory, told ITV News this incident is not the first and said action needs to be taken to ensure it does not happen again.

She said: "I think that we do need improved signage here and I will be raising that with the relevant officers at County Hall. Common sense must prevail, the drivers of the vehicles. I mean these routes are essential in the summer months to the farming community, they use them all the time, but perhaps they should be closed during the winter months, because the conditions can change instantly.

"In the last few days there’s been rain, there’s been ice, there’s been thawing, treacherous conditions."

The North East Ambulance Service said one unit attended the scene, but nobody was taken to hospital.