By ,20-Sep-2012 10:34:00
The discovery of a missing motorcyclist seriously injured in a roadside ditch almost three days after he crashed has been described as a "miracle" by his sister.
Anthony Margrave spent three nights in the open near Thorne, South Yorkshire, as a major search operation was launched to find him, Humberside Police said.
The 40-year-old was found six feet down the ditch, conscious and breathing, last Friday at 12.14pm. He was lying in open water near East Cowick and Thorne.
Police said they believe he hit a metal signpost on the off-side of a carriageway and then travelled about 200 metres further before falling.
Mr Margrave, from Goole, East Yorkshire, is being treated at Doncaster Royal Infirmary for injuries including broken ribs and hypothermia.
His sister Sharon Margrave said he was not yet "out of the woods", but was fighting to recover from the ordeal.
"For all of us it has been a week of hell," she said.
"I thought he was dead, I really thought that was it. There was no other way out of it. I really thought they were looking for a body."
She said: "It's just a miracle that he survived for so long. I'm so proud of him and the way he's fighting now. He's not giving up at all. He's been so lucky."
Mr Margrave was reported missing by his girlfriend, Katie Bridgeford, after he failed to turn up for work, a day after she last spoke to him. He had been planning to go out riding on his bike at 4.30pm last Tuesday.
"He remembers heading towards the field and he remembers waking up in the ditch," Ms Margrave continued.
"He said he was worried because he could only move his head and his neck. He knew he had his mobile phone and his tobacco in his pocket but he couldn't move his arms to get to them. He remembers having bugs on his face but he couldn't move to get them off.
"The ditch was so deep, he and his bike were totally out of sight. He could hear cars and horses and was shouting for help but nobody came.
"He did think nobody was going to find him. But we did find him. And he knows we love him and nobody rested until he was found."
Officers seached rivers, reservoirs, fields, houses, gardens and any other likely locations for two days for Mr Margrave. The force helicopter helped with searches of roads and ditches.
Inspector Rob Cocker said: "All officers feared the worst and it was very pleasing to find the man alive and hope him well with his recovery. It is a credit to his determination that he is still alive."
His team found his phone had not been used in the 24 hours up to when his partner reporting him missing.
They also found the phone had not moved from the area between Thorne and Goole which is large and sparsely populated.
A small amount of debris from a motorbike was found at the side of a road on Friday which led them to the motorcyclist.
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