Father, 42, on the school run dies and wife and children injured as two cars carrying same family slide off icy road into pond within five minutes of…

Father, 42, on the school run dies as his AND his wife's cars both plunge off same icy road into pond within minutes of each otherDavid and Ruth Cox were driving children to separate schoolsMrs Cox and son Ioan, nine, and Tess, 11, swam to safetyMr Cox said to have been unconscious in front of his blue Toyota AygoNeighbours and Mrs Cox frantically fought to save him from icy waters
He was driving along a
path near the Monsal Trail, north of the A6 in Derbyshire,
when their car veered off the path and into the River Wye

By
Andy Dolan

PUBLISHED:

18:21 GMT, 24 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

02:10 GMT, 25 January 2013

A man died yesterday as his wife battled to save him when both their cars skidded off a bridlepath into an icy river.

David and Ruth Cox were driving their children to separate schools when their vehicles flipped over and plunged into the water moments apart.

Mrs Cox, 39, and both children, Ioan, nine, and Tess, 11, freed themselves from the vehicles and swam to the bank, but Mr Cox was said to have been unconscious in the front of his blue Toyota Aygo.

Father-of-two David Cox has died after he and his wife crashed their cars while taking their children to separate schools

Father-of-two David Cox has died after he and his wife crashed their cars while taking their children to separate schools

Mr Cox was said to have been unconscious in the front of his car (left). His wife and children managed to escape the car on the right

Mr Cox was said to have been unconscious in the front of his car (left). His wife and children managed to escape the car on the right

Emergency vehicles and personnel, including Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, local mountain rescue volunteers, land ambulances, and the air ambulance were called to the scene

Emergency vehicles and personnel, including Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, local mountain rescue volunteers, land ambulances, and the air ambulance were called to the scene

Witnesses told how Ioan ran
three-quarters of a mile back down the path to tell neighbours ‘Daddy’s
trapped’, while Tess ran back and forth twice to get help.

Neighbours and Mrs Cox frantically tried to free Mr Cox, 42, but it was
around 40 minutes before he was carried to the riverbank.

A lack of
mobile phone signal in the area and the icy conditions meant emergency
services arrived 30 minutes after the cars left the road.

Last night, both the Aygo and the second vehicle, a silver Toyota Rav4,
could be seen upturned side by side in the River Wye half-a-mile from
the family’s cottage at Blackwell Mill, near Buxton, Derbyshire.

Neighbour Victoria Bamber, 32, who was the first person alerted to the
accident by Ioan, waded into the icy water and battled in vain to save
Mr Cox.

She said: ‘Ioan came banging on the door saying, “There’s been an
accident, Daddy is trapped”. When I got to the scene I could only see
the silver 4×4 upside down in the water and Ruth was desperately trying
to find David. I jumped in the water. It was freezing cold and came
above my waist. I kept diving down but I could not see anything.

Mrs Cox and both children freed themselves from the vehicles

Mrs Cox and both children freed themselves from the vehicles

Rescue teams recover Mr Cox's car. The parents were taking their children to school when the tragedy happened just after 8.30am yesterday morning

Rescue teams recover Mr Cox's car. The parents were taking their children to school when the tragedy happened just after 8.30am yesterday morning

‘The 4×4 had landed up against the driver’s door (of the Aygo) so David
couldn’t get out. The rear window was smashed and I think that was how
Tess had managed to get out of the car.We were trying to get in through
the passenger door but we couldn’t move it. Then I picked up a large
rock and smashed the window. The electrics gave out and the central
locking failed and we got the door open.’

She said she helped drag Mr
Cox from the car, before the emergency services began CPR on the
riverside.

The family were airlifted to Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport, 20
miles away, but while the mother and children were released after
treatment, Mr Cox could not be saved.

Mrs Bamber said she was in ‘total shock’ at what had unfolded. ‘I can’t
imagine what Ruth is feeling right now. She did everything she could.
She did her best to get David out.

‘Now I’m left thinking I let her and the children down. I did my best but it was not enough.’

The slow flowing river was about 3ft deep at the accident scene. Locals
described the condition of the track as appalling, with ice on top of
frozen snow.

The family only moved in to the 250,000 property a year
ago.

One of the neighbours said: ‘It’s a really treacherous path along
by the river, they haven’t been here long, perhaps they just weren’t
aware of how dangerous it can be when it’s been snowing.’

Paul Hawker of Buxton fire station said: ‘You can only imagine what his
family and neighbours went through. They must have been frantic.’

A police spokesman said the death was a ‘tragic accident’.

Last night, forecasters warned up to six inches of snow could fall over
northern Britain today, with between two and four inches falling across
the rest of the country.