The incident happened after a taxi driver came upon a collision between a bus and a car on a motorway near Rosvik in northern Sweden. He stopped to see if he could help.
Two people injured in the crash took shelter from the freezing cold and sat in the car while waiting for emergency services.
But the taxi driver could not believe his eyes when rescue workers subsequently cut the roof off his car to get the two people out.
But, according to a head doctor at Sunderby Sjukhus, the decision to remove the roof of the taxi was entirely correct as one of those injured had suffered a broken neck.
“The slightest head movement would have had terrible consequences for the injured individal. Injuries like these are not always immediately apparent and in this case the symptoms first manifested themselves when the person was sitting in the taxi.
“A single careless head movement could have led to permanent paralysis.
“Sawing off the roof to remove accident victims is the safest way to manage injuries of this kind,” said Anders Sundelin in a statement.
The patient was later taken to hospital in Umeå by helicopter and is reported to be doing well under the circumstances, according to newspaper NSD.
“It would be incredibly regrettable if the general public had second thoughts about helping people in difficulties as a result of the publicity surrounding this event.
“The taxi driver, rescue service and ambulance staff all acted in an impressive manner, saving somebody from a lifelong handicap,” said Sundelin.