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BBC Pays Tribute To Employee David Cox Who Died After Car Plunged Into River Wye In Derbyshire

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Mr Cox worked at the BBC's Media Centre in Salford and was part of the Corporation's Olympic coverage | PA

The head of the BBC today paid tribute to an employee who died after his car plunged into a river as he and his wife took their children to school.

David Cox, 42, and his wife Ruth were driving their children Tess, 11, and Ioan, nine, in separate cars on the school run yesterday morning when they both skidded off a narrow path and into the River Wye.

Tess managed to escape her father's Toyota Aygo and get safely to the riverbank but Mr Cox died after being trapped in the car for about 40 minutes.

Neighbours launched a desperate rescue attempt to try to free Mr Cox from the vehicle. He later died in hospital.

Mrs Cox, 39, and Ioan got out of their Toyota Rav 4 unharmed after it also veered off the bridle path, which runs near the Monsal Trail, north of the A6 in Derbyshire, and into the water.

Acting BBC director general Tim Davie praised Mr Cox's role in the corporation's coverage of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

He said: "We are very sad to learn of David's tragic death. He was a popular member of the Future Media team in Salford and had been key to the success of the red button service during the Olympics in the summer.

"Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues here at the BBC at this difficult time."

Roux Joubert, BBC head of TV and mobile platforms, said: "David was an important member of the team and played a central role in the department.

"He will be sorely missed by everyone here and our thoughts are with his family at this time."

Emergency services said the wintry conditions were thought to be a contributing factor.

Neighbour Victoria Bamber said Ioan came running down the country lane shouting for help to free his father.

She told reporters: "He came banging on the door saying 'There's been an accident, Daddy is trapped'.

"When I got to the scene, I could only see the silver 4x4 upside down in the water and Ruth was desperately trying to find David."

Mrs Bamber said she and others waded into the freezing cold water to try to free Mr Cox, and smashed the window with a large rock so the central locking failed and the car doors would open.

It is thought Tess escaped through the rear window which had smashed.

A police officer who arrived on the scene also waded into the water to help but, despite the efforts of emergency services personnel, Mr Cox could not be saved.

Mrs Cox and the two children were unhurt in the accident, police said.

Paul Hawker, station manager at Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, was one of the first on the scene and said the wintry weather in the area was a contributing factor in the accident, a fire service spokeswoman said.

Today there was was no evidence of the tragedy that had unfolded along the snowy and icy bridleway, which runs close to the River Wye and not far from the A6.

Both cars were recovered from the scene of the accident late yesterday afternoon.

Derbyshire Police said an investigation is under way into the circumstances surrounding the crash and a file will be prepared for the coroner.

Mrs Cox paid tribute to her husband and hailed Tess's quick-thinking, as she managed to hold her breath and dive to escape.

In a statement, she said: "David was a wonderful loving father, husband, brother and son. He loved living at Blackwell Mill and working for the BBC.

"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.

"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.

"We were a very happy family and I will do my utmost to make us a happy family again.

"I would like to thank my wonderful friends and neighbours for all their help and support. I would also like to thank all the rescue services involved."