Page last updated at 10:21 GMT, Saturday, 27 February 2010

Woman's body found after car swept away in moor flood

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Police, the RAF and coastguard officers searched a three-mile stretch of the river

A woman's body has been found after a Land Rover was swept away in a rain-swollen river on the North York Moors and became submerged under a bridge.

The woman, who was 53 and from Beverley, was found on Friday by police divers near the vehicle at Muffles Bridge at Hartoft, near Pickering.

The discovery was made after a major search operation involving an RAF helicopter and mountain rescue teams.

Searches had been conducted along a three-mile stretch of river.

Helicopter winchman Rick Bragg, who took part in the search, said the Land Rover had been swept about 200m (650ft) downstream before hitting the bridge, which crosses Hartoft Beck in Cropton Forest.

'Boulders and tree stumps'

"This was in quite a deep wooded valley and the beck was very high," he said.

"There were lots of branches, boulders and tree stumps which made the search quite difficult for us."

A North Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said the force was investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.

The spokeswoman added the woman's identity had not yet been released.

Meanwhile, the heavy rainfall also caused problems elsewhere in North Yorkshire.

Map showing Hartoft, North Yorkshire

Bruce Bedford, Scarborough Borough Council's technical services manager, said: "In the interests of public safety we have closed parts of both Barmoor Lane and Hackness Road due to flooding problems.

"We have also been providing sandbags in some areas. "Peasholm roundabout is partially flooded and although it is still open to traffic, drivers should take extra care."

The flooding is believed to have been exacerbated by thawing snow on the hills combining with heavy rainfall.

On Friday fire crews were helping people in Mill Lane, Cloughton, whose homes were under threat from rising waters.

They were also called out to pump out water from flooded properties in Ebberston, Scalby and Newby.

Also on Friday The A171 through Cloughton and the A165 through Scalby were closed because of flooding.

Flooding in Harrogate meant replacement bus services were running on Northern Rail services between Harrogate and Horsforth.


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