A crane operator has died after his 28 tonne vehicle toppled into a freezing river – trapping him underneath the water.
Incident commander Julian Fountain, of Cambridge Fire and Rescue, said rescue crews were hampered by the sub-zero wintry weather in Mepal, Cambs.
He added: ”All agencies worked extremely closely together to make every effort to fully release the man from the water as quickly as possible.
”However due to the location of the crane, the freezing weather conditions and the fact the man was trapped this could not happen in time.
”This is an extremely tragic incident and our thoughts are with the man’s family.”
A fire crew spokesman said the crane driver had been under the water for around 20 minutes before they arrived.
They pulled him free and managed to get his head above the water but his leg was trapped in the cab.
A spokesman for the Environment Agency confirmed the dead driver was an employee who had been cleaning the Counter Drain, at Mepal.
Stunned residents living in Mepal said the village was swarming with fire crews and police.
A neighbour said: ”I heard all the emergency vehicles going past with the sirens going, in a local area you notice things like that. I even heard a helicopter fly over.”
Police divers pledged to continue through the night to remove a man’s body from the icy river.
Det Insp Billy Bremner, of Cambridgeshire Constabulary, said: “The recovery is expected to go on through the night and maybe even into tomorrow. The man’s next of kin have been informed.”