POLICE divers recovered the body of a Widnes motorist who died after his car careered off the road and plunged into a canal at West Bank.

Residents watched in horror as police dragged the driver from the wreckage of the car, which spun out of control and landed upside-down in the water.

Police helicopters and specialist diving units were mobilised, as well as fire crews and paramedics.

Witnesses say the vehicle narrowly missed a father and baby when it sped off the road on to a towpath and crashed through a barrier, close to The Swan pub and West Bank Boat Club.

They say the blue Ford Escort then hit an obstacle and flipped over into the waterway, just after 5.10pm last Wednesday.

The driver, a 39-year-old Widnes man, died at Whiston Hospital. He has not been named.

Cheshire police sent divers into the canal to check for passengers.

One witness said: 'The car came shooting round the corner and smashed straight through the barrier. A man taking his baby for a walk had to dive for cover to make sure his child wasn't hit as the barrier was heading right for them.'

Another added: 'There are always people down there, walking their dogs or fishing and walking with their kids. Someone else could easily have been hurt.'

A spokesman for Cheshire Constabulary said: 'It looks like an accident.'