Beaminster Tunnel Tragedy: Update
5:19pm 17th July 2012
Assistant Chief Constable James Vaughan has been telling reporters this afternoon how a couple, trapped in a landslide at Beaminster tunnel, went undiscovered until today.
A man in his seventies and a woman in her sixties became trapped by several hundred tonnes of mud, brick, water and trees after a major landslide on July 7th. At the time, the road was closed and a preliminary search was carried out but it wasn't suspected that anyone was under the rubble: there had been no reports of missing persons from the local area.
ACC Vaughan confirmed that it was only when concerns were raised in Somerset by the missing couple's family, that further searches were carried out. Police in Somerset began to look at phone records and bank details and saw that the couple had been in Beaminster the weekend of the heavy rain and floods.
Yesterday evening, Dorset Fire and Rescue along with county engineers and the police, began to excavate the mud. The couple's vehicle had been completely crushed. Today, one body has been recovered and it's believed the other is inside the car. It's now been removed so that a more dignified recovery can take place.
Dorset Police has offered condolences to the couple's family and investigations are continuing.