A heroic police officer praised for holding on to a van hanging precariously over a motorway bridge says he was "just doing his job".

PC Martin Willis faced a nerve-wracking, 15-minute wait for emergency services to arrive and rescue the trapped motorist on the A1(M) in West Yorkshire early on Friday morning.

The traffic officer was first at the scene and grabbed the vehicle to "stop it swaying in the wind" after it skidded off the road in icy conditions, reports Daily Telegraph UK.

Willis tweeted he couldn't "begin to describe my relief" when West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Services (WYFRS) arrived to free the driver.


"It was scary as I was worried another collision could occur and hit us on the hard shoulder as traffic was speeding past. I'm only just doing my job though," he wrote. "It was balancing so I just had to hold it still.

"[I] kept thinking what if the van had fallen and landed on traffic travelling underneath … the motorway can be quite an eventful place!"

He said the driver was "calm" throughout the ordeal, but said the motorist probably didn't realise how precarious the situation was due to his obstructed view.

"I don't think he realised his vehicle was hanging over such a high drop. He kept very still and was incredibly brave!" he added.

A person claiming to be the driver's brother tweeted Willis his thanks for his brave rescue.

"Tom is my brother. He's had both legs pinned and needs skin grafts. He's got a long recovery but at least he's alive.

PC Martin Willis. Photo / Supplied
PC Martin Willis. Photo / Supplied

"You are 100% a hero. Our family are forever in your debt."

His 'heroic' actions were praised on social media, with one commenting: "You deserve a medal for that."


Another wrote: "Can't even begin to think about the devastation had the vehicle gone over. Well done again."

The driver was taken to Leeds General Infirmary with serious but not life-threatening injuries.

WYFRS, who used ropes to drag the van to safety, said emergency services "worked incredibly hard together" to rescue the driver, who is recovering in hospital, from the "terrifying ordeal".

Willis urged motorists to moderate their speed in snow and icy conditions to avoid such collisions.