Monday 11 December 2017

Two feared dead after being buried in car after landslide

Rod Minchin

TWO people are feared dead after being buried in their car for more than a week following a landslide caused by heavy rain.

The man and the woman, who have not been named, were reported missing from the Avon and Somerset area by their concerned families.

Police inquiries traced the pair to the Beaminster area of Dorset on July 7, which coincided with heavy rain and a landslide that closed the Beaminster Tunnel.

Excavations of the mud and debris by the fire service located a car at the entrance of the tunnel at Beaminster, near Dorchester, Dorset.

An Avon and Somerset Police spokesman said: "Police searching for two people missing from Somerset have recovered a vehicle in Dorset.

"Inquiries into the missing man and woman suggested they were in the Beaminster area on July 7 and Dorset Police were requested to check the area of Beaminster tunnel.

"Dorset Police have found a car under a large volume of earth and mud.

"At this time it is too early to speculate about the outcome but families have been informed and are being supported by family liaison officers." In a joint statement, Dorset Police and Dorset Fire and Rescue Service said: "At approximately 6.30pm yesterday Dorset Fire and Rescue Service were contacted by Avon and Somerset Police regarding the partial collapse of Beaminster Tunnel.

"Crews were subsequently sent to investigate the area, and following a period of excavation discovered a vehicle under a large volume of earth and mud.

"At approximately 7.20pm yesterday, Dorset Police were advised that Dorset Fire and Rescue Service personnel had discovered a car under a large volume of earth outside the entrance of Beaminster Tunnel.

"The road has been closed and a cordon has been put in place while emergency service staff attempt to excavate the vehicle."

The A3066 road has been closed at the tunnel since the heavy flooding on July 6 and July 7.

It caused a landslide on the hill above the tunnel that fell on to the road and also caused some structural damage to the tunnel.

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