Plea to find Halesowen car flood lifesaver ‘angel’ Ben

A disabled pensioner today issued a plea to find an “angel” called Ben, who rescued her from her car when it was engulfed by a torrent of water.

Cars under water in Hawne Lane, Halesowen
Cars under water in Hawne Lane, Halesowen

Mariann Smith, aged 70, has described how the embankment, yards from the River Stour, suddenly “exploded”, sending water cascading on to Hawne Lane, Halesowen, at the junction with Corngreaves Road, Cradley Heath.

She believes she would have died had it not been for the actions of a motorist called Ben, who talked to her to keep her calm until her son arrived.

It was at that point that the two men managed to force open the door, against the force of the water, to free her. She now wants to find Ben to thank him for saving her life.

Mrs Smith, a widow who suffers with arthritis and walks with sticks, said: “He’s an angel.”

Mariann Smith, of Woodridge Road
Mariann Smith, of Woodridge Road

She was on her way to babysit four of her grandchildren in Cradley Heath at about 7am yesterday when the drama happened during heavy rain.

Mrs Smith, of Woodridge Road, Halesowen, said: “I turned the corner and the embankment exploded with tons and tons of water that cascaded on to me and the car was full of water up to my chest.

“I managed to put my bag on top of my head, got my phone and called 999. I phoned my son, who was staying with friends in the area about 15 minutes away.

“Then a chap called Ben came to the window, which I had managed to open a little bit. Another man went to try to find a rope to pull the car out or the door open.

“Ben had waded up to his waist in water and talked to me until my son came and the two of them managed to force the door open and carry me out. I don’t know how they managed it.”

She added: “I want to thank Ben so very much –without him I think I would have died.”

Yesterday’s flood has been blamed upon a blocked sewer.