The wife of a BBC employee who died when two cars plunged into a river has paid tribute to the “wonderful and loving” father – and praised their brave children for their heroic escape.
In a statement, Ruth Cox revealed their daughter Tess dived into the icy water to escape the submerged car.
David Cox, 42, and his wife were driving their children Tess, 11, and Ioan, nine, in separate cars on the school run yesterday when they both skidded off a narrow path into the River Wye in Derbyshire.
Tess escaped her father’s Toyota Aygo and get safely to the riverbank, but Mr Cox died after being trapped for 40 minutes.
In her statement, Mr Cox’s widow said: “I am very proud of our daughter Tess. She held her breath and dived under the water to look for a way out of the car.
“Tess then swam to the far bank. I am also very proud of our son Ioan. Whilst the car was filling with water he kept calm and attempted to unsuccessfully smash the rear side window.”
Mrs Cox added: “We were both able to get out of the car and on to the river bank. I am very proud of how they ran back down the lane to the cottages to raise the alarm.”
Mrs Cox, who thanked friends, neighbours and the emergency services, said her husband had loved living at Blackwell Mill and working for the BBC.
In her statement, she said: “David was a wonderful loving father, husband, brother and son.”
Acting BBC director-general Tim Davie also praised Mr Cox’s role in the coverage of the London 2012 Olympic Games on the Future Media team in Salford.
Police believe that the wintry conditions may have been a contributory factor in the accident, which happened near the Monsal Trail, north of the A6.