Cornwall house collapse: Body found

  • 22 March 2013
  • From the section England

A body has been found at the site of a house which collapsed in a landslip in Cornwall, police have confirmed.

Rescue teams have been searching for a woman believed to be trapped inside the property in Looe.

The building, which is converted into flats, collapsed just before 06:00 GMT following torrential rain.

Devon and Cornwall Police earlier said Susan Norman, who lives in one of the flats in Sandplace Road, Looe, had been unaccounted for.

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service said a body had been recovered from the property at about 18:00, although formal identification had not yet taken place.

Dave King, from the service, said sniffer dogs and thermal-imaging equipment had been used.

Firefighters had entered the building after it was made "structurally sound" at about 13:15 to continue the search.

Devon and Cornwall Police said Ms Norman, aged in her 60s, who lived in one of three single-occupancy flats, had not been seen since 18:00 on Thursday.

Her neighbours have been accounted for.

Cornwall Council said it was continuing to work with the emergency services and the Health and Safety Executive to carry out a thorough investigation into the cause of the landslip.

Image caption Sidford has been affected by flooding

About 15 people from six other properties have been evacuated while engineers assess the stability of the buildings and the ground.

The A387 and B3253 were closed because of the house collapse and rail services to and from Looe were suspended.

Some of Ms Norman's neighbours said they had been shocked by the landslip but had previously raised concerns about subsidence in the area.

Peter Temlett said: "The drains have been blocked for years - they've not cleared them."

Nuclear shutdown

The council would not respond to the comments but said its wet weather operation had moved into the "recovery phase", with the Met Office saying the worst of the weather was moving away from Cornwall.

Snow and rain have caused problems across England with 1,000 school closures, power lines down and travel disruption.

The Environment Agency earlier issued 12 flood warnings for the South West and 80 flood alerts elsewhere.

In Devon, Jubilee Bridge in Modbury collapsed following heavy rain.

The bridge was built in 1887 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Queen Victoria's reign.

Image caption Gosforth in Cumbria saw heavy snowfall

In Cumbria, the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant has been shut down because of snow and high winds.

A "site incident" was declared and plants moved to a "controlled, safe, shutdown state".

Sellafield Ltd said the move was to allow staff to leave early and get home safely and not because of safety issues.

Elsewhere in the county more than 1,000 homes were without electricity after high winds brought power lines down. Power was also disrupted in Shropshire and Staffordshire.

Delays were expected at Leeds Bradford Airport after flights were grounded due to snow.

Difficult driving conditions have been reported on many roads because of snow and winds gusting up to 50mph.

Road closures included the Woodhead Pass in the Peak District because of snow and St Chads Queensway tunnel in central Birmingham after a pump failure caused a flood.

In Devon, fire crews rescued people from flooded cars in Plymstock, Sidmouth, Teigngrace and Wembury.

Hundreds of schools were closed across West Yorkshire, Merseyside and Staffordshire.

Image caption Jubilee Bridge in Modbury, Devon, collapsed overnight

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