18/09/2012 17:23 BST | Updated 19/09/2012 07:57 BST

Crashed Biker Anthony Margrave Found Alive After Spending Three Days In Ditch

The sister of a motorcyclist who was found seriously injured in a roadside ditch almost three days after he crashed has said it is a miracle that he is alive.

Anthony Margrave spent three nights in the open near Thorne, South Yorkshire, as a major search operation was conducted to find him.

anthony margrave crash

A sign on A614 near Thorne, South Yorkshire, close to where Anthony Margrave was found

The 40-year-old, from Goole, East Yorkshire, is now being treated at Doncaster Royal Infirmary for injuries including broken ribs and hypothermia.

His sister, Sharon Margrave, said he was not yet "out of the woods" but he was fighting to recover.

"For all of us, it has been a week of hell," she said.

"I thought he was dead, I really thought that was it. There was no other way out of it. I really thought they were looking for a body."

Ms Margrave said her sister called her to tell her the good news.

"I can't describe the feeling," she said.

"It's just a miracle that he survived for so long. I'm so proud of him and the way he's fighting now. He's not giving up at all. He's been so lucky."

Mr Margrave, a concrete operative, was reported missing by his girlfriend, Katie Bridgeford, on Wednesday last week after he failed to turn up for work.

He had been planning to go out riding on his bike at 4.30pm the previous day.

anthony margrave

Anthony Margrave couldn't move after the crash

Humberside Police, who launched a missing person investigation last Wednesday, discovered his new motorbike was missing and his phone had not been used in the 24 hours up to Ms Bridgeford reporting him missing.

They also found the phone had not moved from the area between Thorne and Goole which is large and sparsely populated.

Officers conducted a full two-day search of rivers, reservoirs, fields, ditches, houses, gardens and any other likely locations in the Thorne, Rawcliffe and Snaith area.

The force helicopter helped with searches of roads and ditches.

A small amount of debris from a motorbike was found at the side of the A614, just north of Thorne, on Friday and Mr Margrave was discovered soon after, lying in water 6ft down in a ditch between East Cowick and Thorne. He was conscious and breathing.

Ms Margrave said: "He remembers heading towards the field and he remembers waking up in the ditch.

"He said he was worried because he could only move his head and his neck. He knew he had his mobile phone and his tobacco in his pocket but he couldn't move his arms to get to them. He remembers having bugs on his face but he couldn't move to get them off.

"The ditch was so deep, he and his bike were totally out of sight. He could hear cars and horses and was shouting for help but nobody came."

She added: "He did have the odd tear rolling down his cheek when he was talking to us.

"He did think nobody was going to find him. But we did find him. And he knows we love him and nobody rested until he was found."

Ms Margrave praised Humberside Police, the emergency services and Doncaster Royal Infirmary for their help.

"Humberside Police and the emergency services went beyond the call of duty," she said. "They went through it with us."

Police said they believed Mr Margrave collided with a metal signpost on the off-side of the carriageway and then travelled approximately 200m further along the carriageway before coming to rest in a ditch.

But Ms Margrave said the accident will not put her brother off his love of motorbikes.

She said: "When we told him what a mess his bike was in, he swore.

"We were telling him he was only allowed to ride a mobility scooter from now on and he said 'But I like bikes'."

Describing the search in a predominantly rural area, Inspector Rob Cocker, from Humberside Police, said: "Even with a helicopter it is impossible to check every overgrown ditch and crevice and the only way to be 100% sure is to search on foot using officers on the ground.

"This was a large scale missing person inquiry and required resources being pulled in from Scunthorpe and Hull and the use of the South Yorkshire Helicopter for three days.

"All officers feared the worst and it was very pleasing to find the man alive and hope him well with his recovery. It is a credit to his determination that he is still alive."