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65-year-old biker killed at Beaminster Tunnel

Police investigating a fatal crash near Beaminster in Dorset would like to hear from anyone who saw what happened.

It took place on Sunday morning on the A3066 at the north entrance to the Beaminster tunnel.

Officers say a motorbike rider travelling towards to Beaminster lost control and hit the tunnel parapet. The rider, a 65-year-old man from Wincanton, died at the scene.

The road was closed for several hours while the emergency services attended.

The road was closed for five hours while the emergency services attended. You can watch video of the investigators at the tunnel below:

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BEAMINSTER INQUEST: Accidental death conclusion

The Coroner at the inquest in the deaths of two people that were trapped by a landslide at the Beaminster Tunnel in Dorset has recorded an accidental verdict.

It would seem excess water and the soaking of the ground was the major factor overall... but there was no conclusion that death could have occurred as a result of actions.

Ultimately what happened was a pure accident and like all accidents you could say that 30 seconds earlier or 30 seconds later, no-one would have died. It is as close as that.

– Coroner Sheriff Payne

BEAMINSTER INQUEST: geologist gives evidence

Geologist and expert Dr David Clinton has told the inquest the landslip was probably the result of the slope being very steep and that the ground was probably saturated.

Dr Clinton says he thinks the vegetation was carried above ‘fluidized soil’ as it slipped. He said the soil was known as ‘green sand’.

He says the removal of trees on the slope may have contributed to the landslip but it was unlikely to have been the contributory factor.

Dr Clinton said he could not say if it was negligent to have removed them.

He added that the high water table and the fact the soil was wet may have been enough on its own to cause the landslip.

BEAMINSTER INQUEST: PC found two bodies

PC Roger Clark attended the scene on 16 July 2012.

He says the landslide was extensive, mud reported to be approximately 12 feet deep, and there was a tree above the vehicle.

PC Clark examined the vehicle on July 20. There were two bodies inside.

The damage to the vehicle was wholly consistent with the vehicle being subject to extreme down force. The force was of such magnitude that the vehicle was crushed by the weight.

– PC Roger Clark

In response to a question from the coroner, he couldn’t find any evidence that the car had been driven in to anything.

In response to a further question he said the height of the vehicle was lower than the normal level of the window sill.

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BEAMINSTER INQUEST: Car was 'flattened'

Fire officer Mark Greenham says his team returned to the northern side of the tunnel on the July 16 2012 and assisted with the digging following the landslip.

He described how they found ‘something metal’ and stopped. The car was recovered the next day and was ‘flattened’.

Home Office Pathologist Basil Purdue said in a statement that cause of death for Rosemary Snell was chest compression due to death in landslide.

For Michael Rolfe, it was fracture of the spine due to trapping in a landslide.

Dr Purdue had ‘thought the deaths would be instantaneous’.

BEAMINSTER INQUEST: Wall was cascading down

PCSO, Mark Brown, described in a statement how one of the fire officers tried to climb on the mud, but said ‘he kept sinking down, he was very unsteady on his feet’.

The fire fighters then took a fire engine and full crew to the northern end of the tunnel.

Fire Officer Mark Greenham described how five members of the crew went to the tunnel entrance. They got to within 20 or 30 metres of the entrance but they could see parts of the parapet wall cascading down.

They used thermal imaging cameras to search the tunnel, but at 00.08am they called off the search because there was no information that anyone was missing.

BEAMINSTER INQUEST: Officers 'found something metal'

Fire officer Mark Greenham is giving evidence.

Mr Greenham attended the scene on the night and says the mud was so wet and slippery that it couldn’t be climbed on.

He returned on 16 July 2012 with fire officers who started digging and found ‘something metal’. The car was removed the next day.

Firefighters were called to the tunnel at 22.50pm.

Mark Greenham and a colleague arrived form the southern end and met someone they later learnt was an off duty PCSO.

He says “at the northern end, we were met by a complete wall of debris. At the western side there was water spewing down the road”.

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