Mark Beckford, a taxi driver from New Romney, Kent, miraculously survived for 14-hours in his car, which had overturned and sank into a 20ft water-filled ditch by climbing into the boot and breathing from an air pocket.
Mr Beckford was on his way home from a shift at the Ashford International Station at around 2am when he lost control of his vehicle and veered into a large ditch by the side of the road.
The alarm was raised when his wife, Lesley Beckford, reported him missing after she woke to find her husband had not returned home from work.
Mrs Beckford eventually called police when her husband still hadn't returned by 12.30pm. She told the Daily Mirror: "I rang him up to five times from work and all I got was the voicemail service. When I got home he was still not there and then I reported him missing.
"We were in a panic. We were ringing everyone. Nobody knew where he was."
Mr Beckford was unable to raise the alarm himself as his mobile phone had been thrown from the car during the accident.
The car was submerged under four feet of water so his only option was to climb into the boot and wait to be rescued.
"Firefighters used hydraulic cutting equipment to release the hatchback door so they could check if there was anyone inside.
"In order to release him, crews winched the car partially up the bank so it was far enough out of the water to safely remove him."
Mr Beckford was treated at the scene by paramedics but later taken to hospital where his injuries were described as serious but his condition stable.