A DRIVER and passenger were lucky to escape with their lives after their car veered off a residential road in Abingdon and plummeted into the River Thames.

Emergency services scrambled to a water rescue in Wilsham Road just after 1am yesterday [Saturday] morning, to find the car completely submerged upon arrival. 

Onlookers told fire crews the car crashed into a parked car before plunging into the Thames about 10 metres from the bank.

The two people inside were unscathed and managed to open the car doors and swim through the water to safety.

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said one female patient was treated at the scene for shock and signs of hypothermia.

A statement released by the service described the water conditions as 'freezing'.

A water rescue boat from Kidlington Fire Station was launched and crews used a specialist underwater camera to check no further people were in the vehicle and no other cars were involved.

Crew Manager Cook from Abingdon Fire Station said: "These two individuals were incredibly lucky on two counts - they were not badly injured from the crash and they were not then trapped in the vehicle underwater.

"When we arrived, the car was completely submerged and on the river bed.

"This incident had the potential to have resulted in two needless deaths.”

He revealed that in the past six months, the fire services has attended 'two instances of vehicles leaving the road and entering the water at this junction'.

He added: "I would urge all drivers, especially at this time of year, to drive to the conditions in front of you and make responsible choices when driving."

Two fire engines and one rescue vehicle from Abingdon and Kidlington stations were sent to the scene, with crews dressed in dry suits and buoyancy aids prepared for a potential rescue. 

Thames Valley Police is investigating the incident further, but a spokesman for the force said no arrests have been made at this stage.  

The force was called out at 1.02am, to the junction with Preston Road.

It is not the first time the Oxford Mail has reported on a river rescue in Wilsham Road.

In 2015, a heroic group of passersby helped to pull a drowning man out of the river when he fell in. 

READ AGAIN: Meet the heroes who joined forces to hoist a drowning man out of the river

In March this year, there was a large police presence in Wilsham Road following reports of a motorcycle crashing into the water. 

Emergency services conducted a major search after the mysterious disappearance of the rider.

READ AGAIN: Police continue river search for 'missing motorcyclist'