AN heroic grandfather has spoken of his desperate rescue bid to drag a child from a burning car after it was engulfed by fire.
Alan Beusmans and his son William were first at the scene of a horrific fireball in Merdon Castle Lane, Hursley, at around 8pm last night.
Emergency services were called to the scene after reports that a 37-year-old woman and two children - a boy aged five and a six-year-old girl all from Southampton - had been seriously injured in the fire that broke out in their Ford Fiesta.
Mr Beusmans described the traumatic scenes that confronted him and his son as they went to go fishing.
Mr Beusmans, a grandfather of three, said: "It was well alight and there were two people in the road, a woman and a young girl.
"We thought we'd run to assist the lady, who had flames coming up around her legs.
"She was pointing towards the car and that's when I saw the other kid.
"I went over to the car and managed to get the door open - the boy was pressed up against the window.
"I burnt my hand opening it and the boy fell out of the car, I got him over to the other side.
"They were very distressed and I was shocked at what I saw but I managed to get myself together.
"You never expect anything like this to happen."
Another witness, who asked not to be named described hearing explosions before arriving at the scene soon after.
He said: "You don't expect to see something like this on a country lane.
"I am a part-time gamekeeper and was thinking about having an early night. I was driving my car and then saw what was happening round the corner.
"I heard two explosions which may have been the tyres bursting.
"I stopped the cars coming up and directed them away.
"It's something you are not used to seeing. It's a quiet country lane."
As previously reported, the five-year-old boy was air-lifted to hospital with what were described as life-threatening injuries while the two other casualties were in a serious condition having suffered multiple burns.
This morning the boy remained in a critical condition.
Hampshire Constabulary confirmed they were investigating the cause of a fire.
Road closures remained in place at the scene of the fire to allow emergency services to carry out a thorough investigation.
A police spokesman said that the victims' next of kin have been informed of the incident and specially trained officers were supporting them.
Meanwhile Mr Beusmans, 64, played down his role in rescuing the child.
He added: "I will always have the pictures of this in my head. They say it takes a long time to get over something like this.
"Anyone would do this, I had to do it. You couldn't just leave them there.
"I wouldn't agree that I am a hero.
"I am pleased I went by at that time otherwise the poor lad might have died.
"I am proud of my son William too, he hasn't got any sleep since either.
"I have seen a few accidents in my time here but this is the worst thing to have happened by far.
"I'm hopeful they will pull through."
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the Hampshire Major Incident team quoting Operation Ursa by calling 101.