Page last updated at 17:14 GMT, Thursday, 23 April 2009 18:14 UK

'Pain' at CCTV car harbour plunge


CCTV footage emerges of the moment a Smart car rolled off a ferry slipway while its owner nipped to the toilet.

A driver has spoken of the "painful" moment when he watched his £7,500 car roll off a ferry slipway after he went to the toilet.

CCTV footage shows the moment the Smart car plunged into the sea and floated along the harbour from the north side of the Sandbanks Ferry in Poole.

The owner, Tony Hearn, ran out to see "the roof bobbing along" on Tuesday.

He said the handbrake was up in the car, which was later recovered. Mr Hearn is awaiting news from insurers.

He added: "I was just washing my hands when someone came tearing in and said 'has anyone got a silver car?'

"I said yes and he said it had gone into the water.

"I thought he was joking, but when I looked at his face he was clearly not joking.

Tony Hearn
Police were called when Mr Hearn's car was seen floating in the harbour

"I ran down to see the roof and windows bobbing along.

"My first instinct was to jump in and get it but reality set in and I contacted the coastguard.

"All I could think was, 'oh my God, my car is in the water'."

Dorset Police were also alerted when the partially-submerged vehicle was spotted floating past the Haven Hotel.

The vehicle was later recovered by a barge company.

Chris Thorne saw the car being recovered from the sea.

He said: "From what I heard it floated about 600 yards along before sinking.

"When it was pulled out it looked in a right state.

"I doubt if it was in any drivable condition."

Mr Hearn, from Reading, Berkshire, added: "It's very painful to see it but there is a strangely humorous side to this.

"It is just a case of waiting to hear from the insurers now."

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