AN elderly female motorist and a gardener are lucky to be alive after she lost control of the car she was driving and careered through a fence landing where the man had been working just minutes earlier.

The car, a silver Toyota Aygo, flipped onto its roof trapping the woman upside down by her seatbelt in the vehicle, which came to rest in the garden of a large, detached home in Constable Road, Ben Rhydding, Ilkley, shortly after 10am on Tuesday morning.

Gardeners from Morritt Landscape and Garden were working in the garden. One of them was 70-year-old Norman Morritt who had the lucky escape.

"Just ten minutes before and I would have been under that car," he said. "I am lucky to be alive.

"I was working on the banking pulling weeds out and I had just got to the end of the border. There was such a bang and I thought 'what has happened' and turned around.

" I feel extremely lucky - another ten minutes and would not have been here. The lady was hanging upside down but I didn't move her because they tell you not to touch an injured person. I went straight to the house to call for someone to ring for an ambulance and then got out of the way."

Mr Morritt, who has worked in the area as a gardener for 25 years said he had never seen anything like it before. He said he believed the woman, a local resident, may have been free-wheeling down the hill from her home in Undercliffe Rise, with the engine off so her power steering did not work when she tried to negotiate the bend at the junction with Constable Road, causing her to go straight on, though the garden fence.

Gardeners Kathy Harrison and Mr Morritt's son, Matthew, were also working in the garden at the time of the accident. Kathy said: "There was an enormous bang, literally, not something you expect everyday. She must have been terrified."

Home owner Mrs Pam Brown, 70, was asked to call for an ambulance. "I came out and saw the car upside down," she said. "The lady was out of her seatbelt and lying on top of the car. She was conscious and upset with herself."

Mrs Brown said the emergency services arrived at the address very quickly after the call was made. Firefighters from Ilkley and Silsden attended in two appliances, along with paramedics in a rapid response vehicle and an ambulance.

Firefighters removed the door of the car and paramedics were able to get the woman on to a stretcher. She was taken to Airedale Hospital as precaution, but suffered only minor injuries.

Police also attended and called for a crane to remove the vehicle from the garden.

Mrs Brown added: "It is the first time I've had a car in the garden and hopefully the last! I think she had a very lucky escape. If that had been a building, there would have been a totally different outcome. She might not feel lucky, but she is.

"Mr Morritt was lucky he wasn't closer - two people have been very lucky this morning."