A GROUP of heroes who rescued three children from a 4X4 just before it was submerged in flood water have been nominated for a national award.

The rescue, under the bridge in Greensward Lane, Hockley, took place in August and saw Hannah King, 22, Emma Burles, 26 and Jordan McNulty, 22, dive into almost 7ft of rising water after a Mitsubishi Pajero became stuck.

Scott Swinford, 30, of Priory Avenue, Southend, had been driving from Rayleigh with son Reece O’Reilly, eight, niece, Jessica Dobinson, six, and nephew, Alfie Dobinson, four, in the vehicle when the floods took hold.

Amazingly, the vehicle sank beneath the water in just 45 seconds after the occupants were pulled free through a window.

The trio have been nominated for a prestigious Spirit of Fire Award, which is run by the Fire Fighters Charity to recognise members of the public who risk their own safety to save others, or carry out a rescue before the fire brigade is able to attend.

Hannah, a care worker, said: “I feel really proud to know we’re nominated, it’s a really special thing. We didn’t have time to think about what we did, it was just instinct taking over.

“Earlier that day I was worried about getting the rain on me, next thing you know I was swimming in it. We just wanted to save the small children.”

The trio who are all from Hockley, and two other unidentified people, swam into the water and passed the children along a human chain to safety.

Jordan added: “It was a complete shock to be nominated to be honest, it was a great e-mail to receive.

“When I told my mum, she was screaming. At the time it didn’t seem as heroic as it was made out to be after – I just think that some people act and some people watch don’t they?”

They will find out if they have won the award at a ceremony in May featuring celebrity guests in Westminster.