'I just thought, if this van goes over it'll kill the driver': Hero police highway patrolman tells how he clung on for dear life to save motorist trapped in his car dangling off bridge after horrific smash

  • PC Martin Willis stopped the van falling off an A1(M) embankment by holding onto the vehicle
  • Willis - known as Motorway Martin - held the vehicle for 15 minutes and downplayed his heroics
  • The driver of the van was rushed to Leeds General Infirmary?with non-life threatening injuries?
  • The incident happened close to junction 44 for Aberford and Bramham, near Leeds on Friday

A hero police officer managed to stop a van leaning over the edge of a motorway bridge from falling by holding onto the wheel of the vehicle for 15 minutes with his bare hands.

PC Martin Willis - known as Motorway Martin - managed to cling onto the vehicle long enough so that emergency services managed to help free the trapped driver.

It is believed the male driver lost control of the vehicle when it nearly plummeted down an A1(M) embankment near Leeds.

Speaking today PC Willis, who has 10 years' experience as a roads traffic officer, said his heroic acts were 'just him doing his job'.

He said: 'I just thought, "It's right over the A64, if this van goes over it will kill the driver."

PC Martin Willis - known as Motorway Martin - managed to cling onto the vehicle for long enough so that emergency services managed to help free the trapped driver

PC Martin Willis - known as Motorway Martin - managed to cling onto the vehicle for long enough so that emergency services managed to help free the trapped driver

He said ?'I just saw this van on top of the bridge through the railings and contacted control to say, 'I've got to stop here - this looks very serious'.

'I walked on the hard shoulder to the incident and as I did so a lorry driver, who was not involved in the incident, shouted across to say there was a chap upside down in the van.'

'I told the victim not to panic and said 'we're going to get you out of there, whatever you do, don't move',' he recalled.

'I then grabbed hold of the rear wheel and pulled inwards which helped to keep the van balanced. I was there for a good 15 minutes I think.

'Every time a lorry went by I could see the van sway and I just thought, "It's right over the A64, if this van goes over it will kill the driver."

'Of course, you're also thinking 'any minute now, something is going to come on the hard shoulder and hit me.'

'It was quiet a scary situation but this is the reality of the job we do.

'Sometimes you do have to take risks and if you need to help someone, you need to help them.'?

PC Willis?tweeted on Friday: '1st (sic) on the scene of this collision on the #A1M this morning and faced with a vehicle balancing over the edge of a bridge with the driver trapped!

PC Willis tweeted on Friday: '1st on the scene of this collision on the #A1M this morning and faced with a vehicle balancing over the edge of a bridge with the driver trapped!'

PC Willis tweeted on Friday: '1st on the scene of this collision on the #A1M this morning and faced with a vehicle balancing over the edge of a bridge with the driver trapped!'

'After holding on to the vehicle to stop it swaying in the wind I can't begin to describe my relief when @WYFRS arrived on scene!'

PC Willis, from Halifax, told his social media followers that he held onto the truck for 15 minutes but that it felt a lot longer.

There has been a outpouring of praise for his heroics, although PC Willis has been modest in receiving the praise.

PC Adam Pace tweeted: 'How on earth did you manage to do all this and get a photo? Awesome work. Thank you for sharing.'

He added: 'Your superman cape isn't in this photo though! Must have come off in the fracas!'

Sue Drew tweeted: 'That must've been a heart stopping moment!! Well done for holding on, and helping to save that drivers life.'

Mr Signh added 'You sir are a hero. Well done'. to which PC Willis replied: 'Thank you! Just doing my job.'

The driver of the van was rushed to Leeds General Infirmary but his injuries are not deemed to be life-threatening.?

The driver was rushed to Leeds General Infirmary but his injuries are not deemed to be life-threatening. West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service crews used ropes to drag the van to safety

The driver was rushed to Leeds General Infirmary but his injuries are not deemed to be life-threatening. West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service crews used ropes to drag the van to safety

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service crews managed to drag the van to safety using wire ropes.

PC Willis, who patrols the M62 from junction 22 to 27, tweeted about how he managed to hold onto wheel of the vehicle to stop it swaying in the wind and falling over the bridge.??

The accident happened close to junction 44 for Aberford and Bramham, near Leeds.?

Pictures of the scene show icy conditions, with snow settling on the grass.

Two Northbound lanes of the A1(M) were closed for most of the day.?

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: 'Emergency services worked incredibly hard together this morning to rescue the driver of this vehicle on the A1(M).

'The male casualty, 22, is recovering in hospital after what must have been a terrifying ordeal. We wish him well.'

The crash happened overnight and the driver was stuck inside the vehicle although the police officer managed to hold onto the van to stop it toppling over the edge

The crash happened overnight and the driver was stuck inside the vehicle although the police officer managed to hold onto the van to stop it toppling over the edge

It is believed the male driver lost control of the vehicle when it nearly plummeted down an A1(M) embankment. Pictures of the scene show the icy and wintry conditions that the driver and the rescue teams had to endure

It is believed the male driver lost control of the vehicle when it nearly plummeted down an A1(M) embankment. Pictures of the scene show the icy and wintry conditions that the driver and the rescue teams had to endure

Picture shows the scene of a multiple vehicle incident on the north bound carriageway of the A1M near Bramham in Yorkshire that has left a lorry hanging over the edge of a bridge. A number of collisions have already been reported as snowfall through the night, coupled with freezing temperatures affected the region

Picture shows the scene of a multiple vehicle incident on the north bound carriageway of the A1M near Bramham in Yorkshire that has left a lorry hanging over the edge of a bridge. A number of collisions have already been reported as snowfall through the night, coupled with freezing temperatures affected the region

PC Willis, who patrols the M62 from junction 22 to 27, poses with a chicken which he rescued from a central reservation a few months ago

PC Willis, who patrols the M62 from junction 22 to 27, poses with a chicken which he rescued from a central reservation a few months ago

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