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BBC Wales's Matthew Richards
"The Lleyn peninsula's coastline looks badly scarred from torrential rain"
 real 56k

BBC Wales's environment correspondent, Roger Pinney
"Last year there were five major landslides on the Pembrokeshire coast"
 real 56k

Eyewitness Owain Jones
"I heard a few rumbles and saw the mud slide down."
 real 28k

Thursday, 4 January, 2001, 17:38 GMT
Couple 'struggled' to escape landslide
cliff landslip
The military are to help clear the debris
A father has told his two daughters how he struggled in vain to free himself and their mother as their car was dragged over a cliff by a landslide in north Wales.

Shirley Race, 58, died and her husband Donald, 63, was seriously injured following the two successive landslips at Nefyn, on the Lleyn peninsula.

Donald and Shirley Race's car - which was one of seven vehicles engulfed by mud - was swept over a cliff and into the sea.

Mr Race's daughters, Melanie Bowler and Stephanie O'Neil, have joined their father at his bedside and have thanked the emergency services for their efforts to free the couple from their car.

'Struggling'

"Dad is in some pain at the moment as a result of the serious injuries he sustained," Mrs O'Neil said.

"He remembers the incident quite clearly, and recalls both him and Mum struggling to get out of the car before the second landslide that swept the car away."

The three cars pushed onto the road by the landslip were removed from the scene on Wednesday.

And council operators worked through Wednesday night at low tide to retrieve the two cars stranded on the beach.

Third landslip

Structural experts and Gwynedd council officials are considering how to make the area safe after the fatal cliff landslide.

The cliff is thought to have been weakened by recent heavy rain.

Engineers believe the cliffs remain unstable and North Wales Police have confirmed that further smaller mudslides occurred on Tuesday night.

The tragedy was the third landslip in a matter of weeks.

Two helicopters, a lifeboat and three coastguard teams took part in the rescue effort.

Scene of the landslide
The cars will be removed at low tide

It was initially thought that other people may have been trapped in the wreckage, but a search involving rescue dogs revealed that everyone was accounted for.

Two landslips happened within minutes of each other just after 1130 GMT at Lon y Traeth, on a long stretch of road which winds its way down to the beach.

Early retirement

The first sent mud, stones and sand 80 ft down the cliff face onto a car park, jamming several vehicles against railings.

As people ran for safety, there was a second landslide.

The couple's car, and one other, were pushed onto the beach 25ft below, narrowly missing a chalet as they fell.

Emergency teams worked frantically to get to the middle-aged couple, but Mrs Race, 58, was pronounced dead on arrival at the lifeboat station at nearby Porthdinllaen.

Mr Race, from Tudweilog, near Nefyn, was airlifted to hospital with injuries to his pelvis, back and chest. He is in a stable condition in Ysbyty Gwynedd at Bangor.

Mr and Mrs Race had taken early retirement and recently moved to north Wales form the Manchester area.

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See also:

13 Dec 00 | Wales
Gales wreak havoc in Wales
08 Dec 00 | UK
Wales battered by storms
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