Family of five’s terror as car skids on ice, hits tree and flips on roof near North Walsham
- Credit: Archant
Three young children and their parents had a lucky night-time escape when their car skidded on ice in appalling weather conditions near North Walsham, spun, hit a tree and ended up on its roof.
Miraculously, the Hardingham family emerged from their terrifying ordeal badly shaken, but almost unscathed - apart from a small cut on dad Wayne's head.
Now the family want to say a big 'thank you' to two unknown passing motorists who pulled up in wintry conditions and rushed to help them.
Mr Hardingham, 37, his wife Jenny, 28, and their children Kristen, nine, Kelly, seven, and Jasmine, two, were on the A149 just outside North Walsham, heading for home in Southrepps, when disaster struck on Sunday evening.
The weather had 'not been too bad' when they had set out for North Walsham earlier in the day, according to Mr Hardingham.
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But heavy snow set in and, together with plummeting temperatures and strong winds, the roads quickly became treacherous.
'I was driving along at 25-30mph and I suddenly hit black ice,' he said. 'The car started going sideways - and it just kept going. There was nothing I could do.'
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The family's Vauxhall Meriva car slid out of control, collided with a bank, hit a tree and flipped on to its roof with all the Hardinghams strapped inside.
Fortunately it came to rest a little distance from a ditch, at the side of the road, between Waitrose and a bed and breakfast property on the outskirts of North Walsham.
'I hit the windscreen with my head. Fortunately I was wearing a cap. I've got a cut on the top of my head but it could have been a lot worse. It was very frightening and we were all left shocked,' said Mr Hardingham, who works at filter manufacturer Filterworld, on Middlebrook Way, Cromer.
Mrs Hardingham undid her seat belt and immediately began trying to release the children from theirs and help them out.
At this point two passing cars had stopped and their occupants had rushed to help free the family, taking the children to the warmth and safety of their own vehicles. Police and a paramedic were soon also at the scene.
'We haven't a clue who the passers-by were. In the panic of the situation we didn't get any names but we just wanted to say 'thank you - you were a Godsend',' said Mr Hardingham.
The older children were back at Northrepps Primary School on Tuesday after a day to recover. Mr Hardingham is expecting the car to be written-off by insurance assessors.