Wife and pet dogs drown after car rolls into river
David Pewter, 76, told an inquest into the death of his wife Ann, 74, that he had stepped out of his vehicle to take a photograph as the couple waited for the ferry at the King Harry crossing near Trelissick in Cornwall.
He thought he had fully engaged the handbrake but the inquest heard he had only pulled the lever through two of its six notches, allowing the people carrier to roll down the steep incline and into the fast flowing waters below.
According to The Express, Mr Pewter told the inquest: "It kept on rolling. It just floated and then it disappeared."
The couple had been visiting St Just in Roseland Church near Truro before the tragic accident. Mr Pewter told the court: "We left the church before 4pm and made and began making our way back and drove along the hill and down to the ferry and for some stupid reason I got out of the car.
"I was about to take a picture and to my amazement the car started moving slowly forward and I couldn't catch it.
"The handbrake was on. I put it into gear and I can't think what happened. The next thing I know it rolled slowly down into the water. It kept on rolling. It just floated and then it disappeared," reported the Daily Mail.
Garrick Royle, operations manager of the King Harry Ferry, said that he had heard the car hit the water from the opposite bank of the river.
He and mussel diver Matt Vernon attempted to save Mrs Pewter, but were unable to help.
Mr Royle said: "I heard a crash and looked behind me and saw the car I saw it splash, it was quite a big splash.
"I could see the passenger window open and it was floating still quite high. There was a lady in an orange jumper who had climbed back onto the seats."
The inquest heard how emergency services believed Mrs Pewter had climbed into the rear passenger seats to rescue the family dogs.
Recording an accidental death deputy coroner for Cornwall Mr Barrie van den Berg, said Mrs Pewter had died from drowning.
He said: "It's clear that what's happened is tragic accident. It rolled into the river and it's understandably affected everyone that was there."