'Thank you for saving my life'

A PENSIONER was yesterday reunited with his hero rescuer after his car got trapped in flood waters. Andrea Zarkos, 73, from Lakeside in Stowmarket, feared for his life when his Volkswagen Polo car was engulfed by water on the outskirts of the town.

John Howard

A PENSIONER was yesterday reunited with his hero rescuer after his car got trapped in flood waters.

Andrea Zarkos, 73, from Lakeside in Stowmarket, feared for his life when his Volkswagen Polo car was engulfed by water on the outskirts of the town.

Luckily some quick thinking neighbours used a hammer to break a window and drag him to safety.

Mr Zarkos, a retired ICI lab worker, had been driving to Tesco when he tried to get through flood water during the weekend. Heavy rain throughout Saturday night and Sunday morning caused roads to flood all over Suffolk and north Essex.

Tommy Bird, 75, who lives near Wash Lane Corner at Great Finborough helped pull Mr Zarkos to safety with the help of a neighbour.

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Wash Lane, a narrow road often used by traffic wanting to avoid Stowmarket town centre, runs between the outskirts of Finborough and Combs Ford and includes a sharp dip.

Mr Zarkos, who is marred to Gillian, said he just wanted to thank his rescuers who had saved his life after smashing a window with a hammer.

The pensioner said: “I thought I could get through the water but the current was too strong and the car was pushed by the tide, it was really quite frightening and I thought I was going to drown.

“The car is a write-off but the main thing is I'm ok. The water was rising all the time and I thought I was going to die, my rescuers were so wonderful and I just want to thank them so very much.

“I just could not open the doors so they broke a window to get me out.

“One of the doors was jammed against some railings and the other would not open because of the pressure of the water.”

His wife Gillian, 66, a former BT worker said: “Tommy is not a young man either, and what he and his neighbour did for him was really brilliant. He could have died and we are just so grateful.”

Mr Zarkos said he will no longer be driving after the terrifying ordeal and now plans to use public transport.

Mr Bird, a former manager with a building company, who keeps fit by playing golf, said that the car was virtually covered by the end of the incident and he is relieved that Mr Zarkos is ok.

Presented with a bottle of whisky, Mr Bird said: “We looked in the car and although it was all misted up we saw his hand on the dashboard. The car was wedged up against the bridge and I broke the window to get him out.”

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