France honours hero for saving pregnant woman Friday, 08 January 2010 18:26 1 2 3 4 5 ( 1 Vote )
A French man has earned a bravery medal for diving into an icy river and saving a pregnant woman who was trapped inside a crashed car in northeastern France.
The woman had been in a collision with another car which sent her car into a river in Amiens on Wednesday evening.
The woman - eight months pregnant - and her husband were submerged when the car flipped over.
The husband cried for help and Eddy Devauchelle, 42, dived in, pulling the unconscious woman to safety.
Police and fire crews soon arrived at the scene and the couple were rushed to a hospital in Amiens, where the pregnant woman is being kept under constant observation.
"A firefighter came to see me and said 'the baby and his mother are safe!'" Mr Devauchelle told a local paper, Le Courrier Picard.
Describing the rescue, he said he had first seen "a man in the river, with water up to his neck" and some people watching on the river bank.
"He cried 'Please save my wife!' I got out of my car, took off my jacket and got in, up to my neck - it was freezing," he said. "The husband was rooted to the spot - I told him, 'Let's get going!'"
Mr Devauchelle said he struggled to release the car door and free the unconscious woman from her seatbelt, but managed to pull her to the bank and put her in the recovery position.
Acknowledging the rescue, the prefect of the Picardy region and Somme, Michel Delpuech, "awarded this man the silver medal of bravery and dedication," the prefecture said in a statement.
The capital of the Somme department in Picardy, Amiens is 120km (75 miles) north of Paris.