A COUPLE'S dream of starting a new life together ended when their car careered off the road at Anderton, plunging into a canal.
Tony Campbell and Gillian Farrington were travelling along Marbury Road when their purple BMW spun off the road.
It crashed through wooden fence posts, rolled down an embankment and flipped over into the Trent and Mersey Canal.
Occupants of canal boats tied up at The Moorings escaped with their lives as the car crashed into the canal within feet of them at 5.30am on Wednesday.
Miss Farrington, 33, managed to crawl out of a window but Mr Campbell, 41, was drowned.
His body was pulled from the wreckage by members of the public, who ran to the scene after hearing his girlfriend's screams for help.
Kevin Carless, 38, was on his way to work at Anderton Concrete when a man flagged him down and begged for his help. He waded chest-deep into the canal and felt around the inside of the car in an effort to reach Mr Campbell.
'I couldn't see inside because the water was so dirty and muddy,' he said.
'I felt around with my arms as far as I could until I reached him. Then another man jumped in and helped me to get the car door open and we managed to pull him out.'
Mr Carless, of Mather Drive, Comberbach, added: 'But it was all a bit too late. If I'd been there earlier maybe I could have done more.'
Police immediately closed off the A533, re-opening it later that morning at 11.15am.
Miss Farrington was treated for shock and hypothermia at Leighton Hospital.
A spokeswoman for Cheshire Constabulary said: 'We have not yet established who was driving the vehicle.'
Mr Campbell and Miss Farrington, both from Southport, were about to leave the UK to begin a new life in Spain when the accident happened.
Mr Campbell's father Alan is currently fighting a libel case against the News of the World, claiming it branded him a paedophile. The hearing at Liverpool High Court was dramatically halted after news of the tragedy broke.
Anyone with information on the accident should contact PC Connolly at the Northwich traffic office on 84000.