Buxton river crash death: 'Children ran for help'

River Wye crash
Image caption Mr Cox's wife and children managed to escape but he was trapped

The wife of a man killed when his family crashed into a Derbyshire river in two cars has described how their children escaped from the water and ran for help.

David Cox, 42, skidded off a bridlepath north of the A6 in Buxton.

His wife Ruth crashed into the same stretch of the River Wye five minutes later.

She said she was "proud" of the children, who were passengers in their parents' cars when they crashed.

The first crash happened at about 08:30 GMT on Thursday, when Mr Cox's Toyota Aygo is believed to have slid on an area of snow or ice while driving his daughter to school.

After the car went into the river, his 11-year-old daughter Tess managed to free herself from the vehicle but her father remained trapped.

Minutes later, Mrs Cox's Toyota Rav4 is believed to have slipped on the same part of the road, before it plunged into the river.

The 39-year-old mother and her son Ioan, nine, were both able to escape from the vehicle and get out of the water.

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue said the "weather certainly contributed" to the crashes.

'Happy family'

In a statement Ruth Cox said: "I am very proud of our daughter Tess. She held her breath and dived under the water to look for a way out of the car. Tess then swam to the far bank.

"I am also very proud of our son Ioan. Whilst the car was filling with water he kept calm and attempted to unsuccessfully smash the rear side window.

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Media captionRoux Joubert: "David Cox was a "highly respected" and "dependable" man"

"We were both able to get out of the car and onto the river bank. I am very proud of how they ran back down the lane to the cottages to raise the alarm.

"We were a very happy family and I will do my utmost to make us a happy family again."

She described Mr Cox, who worked at the BBC in Salford, as "a wonderful loving father and husband".

She added: "I would like to thank my wonderful friends and neighbours for all their help and support. I would also like to thank all the rescue services involved."

'Shouting for help'

The family, from nearby Blackwell Mill, were treated at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport, Greater Manchester, where Mr Cox later died. Mrs Cox and the two children were later discharged.

It is believed that Mr Cox was trapped for about 40 minutes.

Neighbour Victoria Bamber, 32, said she saw his son Ioan running down the country lane shouting for help.

She said: "He 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 4x4 upside down in the water and Ruth was desperately trying to find David."

Image caption The crash scene is about half a mile from the family's home

She said she waded into the water to try to help Mr Cox and, after locals managed to drag him out, emergency services personnel began resuscitation attempts on the riverbank.

Both cars were recovered from the scene of the accident, which is around half a mile from the family's home.

Mr Cox, who had been at the BBC since May 2010, was a member of the Future Media team at Salford, and had worked on the red button service during the Olympics.

Roux Joubert, head of TV and mobile platforms, said: "David was an important member of the team and played a central role in the department.

"He will be sorely missed by everyone here and our thoughts are with his family at this time."

Tim Davie, the BBC's acting director general, said: "We are very sad to learn of David's tragic death.

"He was a popular member of the Future Media team in Salford and had been key to the success of the red button service during the Olympics in the summer.

"Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues here at the BBC at this difficult time."

Derbyshire Police said an investigation is ongoing into the circumstances surrounding the crash, and a file will be prepared for the coroner in due course.

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