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Police confirm discovery of body in car buried under Beaminster Tunnel landslide

By This is Somerset  |  Posted: July 17, 2012

  • The police recovery operation outside Beaminster Tunnel this morning

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Dorset Police have confirmed the discovery of one body in a car under a landslide at Beaminster Tunnel, and suspect another body is also in the vehicle.

Issuing a statement from the scene this afternoon, assistant chief constable James Vaughan described the incident as a tragic accident.

He said the car has been recovered and will be taken to Weymouth where special investigators will "sensitively" cut it open.

The roof of the vehicle had been crushed by several hundred tonnes of mud.

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Police searching for two missing people, believed to be a man in his 70s from the Taunton area and a woman in her 60s from Crewkerne, used phone and banking records to trace them to the Beaminster area.

It is understood that the man and woman lay in the car under the landslide for ten days.

Earlier this morning, a joint statement from Dorset Police and Dorset Fire and Rescue Service said: “At approximately 6.30pm yesterday (Monday, July 16), 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 (Monday, July 16), 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 has been closed in both directions between the B3163 Clay Lane junction and the B3164 junction since Saturday, July 7, when a landslip was caused by heavy overnight rain.

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