A badly injured driver trapped in a blazing car on the A35 this morning was saved by a quick-thinking passer-by.

Chris Langdon leapt into action when he rushed to the aid of the 50-year-old man, whose shattered legs were encased in the wreckage of his car.

He grabbed fire extinguishers from his van and put out the flames before comforting the driver until emergency services arrived.

The car driver, from Poole, suffered “life-changing” injuries in the early morning crash on the A35, near Bloxworth this morning.

He was airlifted to Southampton Hospital Trauma Unit by the coastguard helicopter.

“He was screaming – the flames were right in front of his face” said Chris, who works for Wessex Electricals. “I could see his legs were trapped and there was no way I could get him out of the car.

“I didn’t even think about what I was doing, I just knew I had to put the flames out. I had 15 bottles of water in the van so I poured them all over the engine after the fire was out.”

Mr Langdon came upon the wrecked Volkswagen Caddy as he travelled towards work in Poole at 6.15am.

The crash led to long delays as the road was closed between Morden Park Corner and the Bloxworth junction for more than four hours to allow for the vehicle to be recovered and for accident investigation work to be carried out.

Mr Langdon, who lives in Tintinhull, near Yeovil, said he left the scene when police arrived to make room for emergency vehicles to get to the injured man.

He added: “I drove away but then I had to stop because I was feeling very shaky and I was in tears.”

PC Tim Brehmer of Dorset Police said the Caddy had been travelling west towards Bere Regis when it left the road and hit a tree. The driver has not been named but is from the Poole area.

PC Brehmer said: “The occupant of the vehicle suffered extensive and life-changing injuries. At this stage the injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.”

A spokesperson from the South Western Ambulance Service said: "The ambulance service received a 999 call at 6.29am this morning reporting that one vehicle had been involved in a collision and was on fire with someone thought to be trapped inside.

"We sent a paramedic in a rapid-response vehicle, two ambulances, an ambulance officer and the helicopter. The patient was flown with serious time-critical injuries to Southampton General.

"The patient’s injuries could have been much worse or even fatal had the fire not been extinguished quickly."