Nine-year-old boy in critical condition after ‘dad’ flips van into River Nene in suspected drug-fuelled crash

A nine-year-old boy remains in critical condition after a suspected drug-fuelled crash which saw a v

A nine-year-old boy remains in critical condition after a suspected drug-fuelled crash which saw a van flip into the River Nene. Picture: Cambs Cops - Credit: Cambs Cops

A nine-year-old boy remains in critical condition after a man, thought to be his father, flipped a van into the River Nene in a suspected drug-fuelled crash.

The 33-year-old man, who was not seriously injured in the crash on Whittlesey Road, Benwick on Saturday, February 8, was arrested at the scene.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire Police said: "At about 10.20am a white Vauxhall Vivaro was travelling along the B1093 when the vehicle came off the road and overturned into the River Nene.

"The passenger, a 9-year-old boy from Peterborough, was rescued by members of the public and taken to hospital by paramedics. He remains in a critical, but stable, condition.

"The driver, a 33-year-old man from Peterborough, was not seriously injured.

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"He was arrested at the scene on suspicion of driving while over the specified drug limit and has since been released under investigation."

The road was reopened at just before 5pm and conversation quickly began on social media about the passengers' welfare.

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James Palmer, a 39-year-old builder heading to Peterborough at the time of the crash, said he pulled the boy up the river bank and says he can "still picture his blue face".

He said: "I was driving when someone waved me down and shouted that there was a boy in the river and asked if I had a knife [to cut the seatbelt].

"I pulled the boy up the river bank after he was pulled out of the van. He was lifeless so we began CPR before the ambulance arrived.

"I had done first aid training 20 years ago and I had forgotten it all until that point. The paramedic thanked us and said he was a poorly alive boy instead of dead."

One witness said: "My partner saved the little boy's life, the van went in the river and his dad tried to get him out. My partner gave the little boy CPR."

A family friend replied: "Thank you to your other half for saving him. The boy and his dad are very good friends of ours."

Another witness said: "A huge shout out to the men who got the little boy out and administrated urgent CPR and mouth to mouth.

"He is still alive but fighting for his life. Such a sad event, praying for you little man, keep fighting."

A spokesman for the Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service said: "On Saturday at 10.24am a crew and rescue vehicle from Dogsthorpe, the north roaming fire engine and one crew from Chatteris were called to a road traffic collision on Whittlesey Road, Benwick.

"Crews arrived to find a vehicle in the water. A member of the public rescued two casualties from the van prior to the arrival of the fire service and firefighters checked for further casualties before making the scene safe.

"The casualties were left in the care of the ambulance service and crews returned to their stations by 12.15pm."

Anyone who witnessed what happened, or the events leading up to it, or who has dashcam footage, is asked to call police on 101 quoting incident 177 of February 8.

Alternatively, you can report online at

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