SHOPPERS leapt into action to rescue a woman after she became trapped in her car when it crashed and landed on its side in Blackburn town centre yesterday.

The dramatic rescue took place when the woman, driving a Vauxhall Astra, is believed to have hit a central reservation before her car somersaulted in the air flipping over twice and coming to a standstill on its side.

The blue car lay near to the entrance of the Blackburn Mall car park in Exchange Street as people rushed to help the woman at around 1.30pm.

Inayat Natha, 38, from Blackburn, was one of the first people on the scene and helped to steady the car with four other pedestrians.

He said: “I saw the car hit the boulevard and then there was a huge bang and everyone was in shock for a few seconds before we all ran over.

“We were scared that the car was going to topple over as it was moving so we held it still and we could hear the woman inside.

"She was crying and really distressed.

“We couldn’t really get to her because she was squashed. It was pretty terrifying.”

Meanwhile, Justin Derbyshire, who had just attended the funeral of Royal Marine David Fairbrother, at Blackburn Cathedral, saw all the commotion as he drove out of the car park.

The British Red Cross first-aider abandoned his car at the roadside and ran over to the accident scene.

He said: “The adrenalin just kicked in and I could see that they were trying to stop it from rolling on its roof.

“So I decided to clamber in through the door and support her while we were waiting for the emergency crews to arrive.

“I put my hands underneath her towards the steering wheel in order to support her torso and then tried to calm her down as she was really distressed and she was gasping for breath.”

Mr Derbyshire remained in the vehicle for around ten minutes as the emergency crews surrounding the vehicle.

Firefighters climbed onto the car and pulled the woman free from the wreckage before she was taken into a waiting ambulance by paramedics.

“I waited until they got her out and she was happy and safe before I climbed out.

"I’m really pleased that she didn't suffer any serious injuries and hopefully she will recover from the shock soon,”

said Mr Derbyshire.

The woman was taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital with minor injuries.

The road was closed for around 30 minutes.