A 62-year-old woman had her life saved after she was pulled out of her sinking car on Auckland's North Shore.
Stephen Bibby was preparing to bring his small inflatable boat out the water on the boat ramp at Stanmore Bay on Tuesday evening when he spotted the woman in a silver Nissan SUV.
As he was approaching the ramp he watched as the car suddenly accelerated, heading straight into the water at a speed of around 40 kmh.
The car drifted about 40 metres out to sea before it began to sink.
Bibby went after the sinking automobile and tried desperately to get the woman out.
He eventually took a fire extinguisher and smashed the rear window as his efforts proved unsuccessful and the car had almost completely filled with water.
By this time a passing off-duty police officer had seen the unfolding drama and jumped into the sea to help.
Constable Antony Hawkings swam out 40 metres and climbed onto the roof of the car and helped Bibby get the woman out of the vehicle.
Rodney Police Area Commander Inspector Scott Webb said without doubt the woman would have drowned had it not been for the two rescuers.
"There's no chance that the female occupant would have been strong enough to break out of the vehicle and swim to safety," he said.
"Mr Bibby's actions, with the assistance of Constable Hawkings, meant this rescue was successful."
The woman was taken to North Shore Hospital for observation and is receiving ongoing treatment.