Quick-thinking strangers are being credited for their roles in the rescue of a family trapped in a submerged vehicle in Surrey.

The family of four had to be pulled from an upside down Honda CR-V, which came to a stop in a water-filled ditch along King George Boulevard Sunday afternoon.

Mounties said the SUV was being driven by a 42-year-old woman from Bellingham, Wash. They were driving near 48 Avenue when they were cut off by a motorcycle driving erratically, swerving in and out of traffic.

The SUV driver swerved to avoid hitting the bike, police said, then overcorrected and flipped the vehicle into the ditch. The water in the ditch was so high that only the bottom half of the CR-V could be seen. The windows were submerged.

Witnesses raced to the family's aid, knowing they had to act fast.

"I got my seatbelt cutter. I go running down. People are freaking out," said witness Steve Newman.

Newman said he saw two other people banging on the SUV window and pulling at the door, trying to get the family out.

"I just went down to break the window, cut the seatbelt and take them out," said Mohhammed Ferzoe, another witness.

Police praised the actions of bystanders who jumped in the water.

"It was a fairly deep water-filled ditch so anyone who risked their own safety to rescue this family are certainly heroes in my mind," said Cpl. Scotty Schumann.

While the Good Samaritans were able to get some of the family members out, the mother, who had been driving, was trapped in the vehicle for about 10 minutes.

Emergency crews arrived and were able to get her out, but she had to be revived before being rushed to the hospital.

While those who weren't involved in the incident were quick to help out, the motorcycle rider witnesses blame for the crash fled the scene.

Fortunately, other drivers got a licence plate number for the bike, and police were able to track down its registered owner. The owner was arrested and detained for a brief period, Mounties said, but he was then released without charges.

The investigation is ongoing, and a motorcycle belonging to a 30-year-old man was towed from the neighbourhood after police obtained a search warrant.

With a report from CTV Vancouver's Michele Brunoro