HE was a very lucky man. That’s the view of police and fire officials after a Southampton man’s car crashed off the road and sank into deep muddy water near Romsey.

The unnamed motorist managed to climb out onto the roof of his red Ford Escort and wait until firefighters arrived and rescued him using specialist equipment.

Romsey firecrews decided it was too risky to use a conventional ladder to reach the stranded driver and called in the aerial ladder platform, which has a 32-metre reach.

“He got himself into a relatively safe place on the car’s roof. He was wet and cold. Fortunately, he wasn’t badly hurt. He was very lucky to be able to get out of the car and climb on to the roof,” said a Hampshire Fire and Rescue spokesperson. Police say the car rolled over several times as it came down the embankment. Luckily, the vehicle came to rest right side up in the murky floodwater.

A police spokesman said: “It could have been a lot worse if his car had ended up on its roof in the water, because it was four- to five-feet deep.”

Police say the driver hit a traffic island prior to crashing off the A27 near Hampshire Collegiate School shortly after 8.15pm last Friday. He suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene by an ambulance crew before being taken to Southampton General Hospital for a check-up.