TWO drivers who were involved in a multiple crash on the A39 road between Camelford and Wadebridge have told of how it was fortunate that no one was seriously injured.
Seven vehicles were involved in the accident caused by deep water in the road at Trehannick, near St Teath, just after 9am on Monday last week.
Five firefighters from Delabole, six from Wadebridge and five firefighters on a specialist Rescue Tender from Bodmin attended the incident.
A woman, who was trapped in a car which was badly damaged, was airlifted to Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, but her injuries were not as serious as first feared.
She was cut free by firemen using crash rescue equipment and has told the driver of a Ford Transit van who steered into a hedge to avoid a head-on crash that she was grateful to him for taking the avoiding action.
Two further casualties were treated at the scene by paramedics.
Builder Andrew Pooley, who was driving his Ford Transit van, said a Vauxhall Corsa saloon coming towards him hit a massive puddle and was thrown across the road into his path.
"It was coming towards me on my side of the road and I braked hard and hit a tree," he said.
Andrew, 44, said his airbag went off and he got out and went to the Corsa where the driver, Charlotte Stockdale, from St Eval, was lying across the passenger seat.
She was eventually airlifted from the scene.
"Meanwhile there was a second accident at the scene but on the other side of the road," said Andrew.
"Mike Pooley was driving another Transit taxi heading towards Camelford and stopped behind a car which had pulled up in front of the puddle. Another car stopped behind him, and then a white Transit went into that one and pushed it into Mike's taxi."
The following day Andrew Pooley by chance met Miss Stockdale at the Tonkins depot at Bugle, where both their vehicles had been taken for examination.
"I was amazed when she came up to me in tears and said 'thank you for saving my life'. The police told her that if it was not for me taking avoiding action she could have been killed.
"I had pulled the van to the left and through a gap in the hedge where I hit a tree.
"Luckily my van collided with her passenger side, but if I hadn't taken avoiding action it could have been head-on.
"It was all caused by a 40-foot long puddle in the road, it was like a lake."
Both vehicles are likely to be insurance write-offs.
Taxi driver Mike Pooley, from Camelford, said he was parked before the puddle with his brakes on and hazard warning lights working when he was hit from behind in the second collision.
"It was probably five minutes after the first accident, and I was pushed 20 to 30 yards and ended up on a bank.
"I have a twisted neck and pulled muscles, but luckily no one was badly hurt."