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Dunoon Observer and Argyllshire Standard Dunoon Observer and Argyllshire Standard



A Cowal pensioner has had a miraculous escape after being trapped alone in an upturned car on a river bed for THREE DAYS with no food or water.

Retired historian Dr Alastair MacFadyen – president of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society - was travelling home to Strathlachlan from Dunoon last Wednesday afternoon when his car left the northbound carriageway of the A815 near Glenbranter village.


The vehicle plunged 30 feet down a steep embankment – crashing through a tree before landing in the River Cur below.

Unable to get out of the car, invisible to passing traffic and locals alike and without food or water, 77-year-old Dr MacFadyen's situation was precarious.


By the weekend, concerned friends and neighbours had notified the police that his whereabouts was unknown.

But it was a chance discovery by a local man that in all probability saved his life.

In an incredible stroke of luck, nearby resident Leif Brag decided on Saturday evening to go back to a spot near the main road where he'd earlier spotted some wild mushrooms growing.

He first of all spotted tyre marks on the grass verge where it seemed a vehicle had parked. It was then he saw a broken roadside marker post and began to wonder.


Walking towards the scene he noticed, in the undergrowth below the road, a snapped tree. Scrambling down the bank, Leif discovered a Renault car on its side in the river.

He wasted no time in raising the alarm.

"I shouted to see if anyone was in there – and he replied, so I said to him to stay calm and I would get help."

Speaking exclusively to the Standard, Dr MacFadyen revealed: "I was able to dip a handkerchief into some raindrops on the outside of the vehicle to moisten my lips, but no more," he revealed.

Looking back, he now believes that he experienced some hallucination during his ordeal, perhaps as a result of dehydration.

What was, however, only too frighteningly real was the ever-present sound of running water as the car sat on the river bed - with the rain falling.


Full story in this week's Dunoon Observer and Argyllshire Standard.

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