A dramatic rescue was operation was launched when a car was discovered submerged in a canal amid fears someone was trapped.
A passer-by saw the black Chevrolet hatchback sinking in Sneyd Wharf, Bloxwich.
Fire crews from Aldridge and Bloxwich were called to the scene at about 10.20am yesterday but as the water was so murky they could not see whether anyone was in the vehicle – so a firefighter dived in to check.
However the freezing temperatures meant he would only stay in the canal for a few minutes, so a water rescue team from the fire service’s Perry Barr station was drafted in.
Paramedics and the air ambulance were also called, while the West Midlands Police helicopter was on standby in case an infra red search was needed. Fire crews managed to winch part of the vehicle out of the water and confirmed no-one was inside. The canal bed was then searched in case anyone had fallen out.
Within about an hour the search was called off as the emergency services were satisfied nobody was in the canal. The car had been driven about 100 yards down a track to the canal off Sneyd Lane.
Watch commander Steve Palmer, of Aldridge Fire Station, said: “When we got the call we were told there were bubbles coming to the surface, so it had only just gone in the water.
“The water rescue team managed to break one of the car’s windows but they still couldn’t see if there was anyone there.
“One of the lads got in there while it was still partially submerged and managed to tell there was no-one in there.
“It was a big thing for us having to commit a firefighter to do that as the water was so cold and within minutes he could have got hypothermia.”
Inspector Dave Farrell, of West Midlands Police, said investigations were ongoing into what had happened.
Carl Adams, who lives nearby, said he heard sirens and a helicopter overhead. The 44-year-old office worker said: “It’s shocking to think all these emergency services have to come out and it turns out there’s no-one there.
“They weren’t to know and they have to do their job, but you wonder how the car ended up there.”
A man was arrested nearby on suspicion of drink driving.