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Car plunges down cliff; mum in hospital

PUBLISHED: 08:30 05 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:57 22 October 2010

Police in and around the car park on Gorleston Cliffs from where a VW Golf plummeted onto the seafront esplanande.

Police in and around the car park on Gorleston Cliffs from where a VW Golf plummeted onto the seafront esplanande.

STEPHEN PULLINGER

A mother-of-two was in intensive care last night after her car plunged down the cliff at Gorleston, crashing onto its roof on the promenade below.

A mother-of-two was in intensive care last night after her car plunged down the cliff at Gorleston, crashing onto its roof on the promenade below.

Horrified dogwalkers looked on as the four-year-old Volkswagen Golf bounced down the slope from the car park at the end of Marine Parade shortly after 9am yesterday.

Last night, police were appealing for witnesses to solve the mystery as to why the 36-year-old woman from St Albans had apparently driven off the cliff, several yards back from the edge of the car park.

It is the same spot where a 48-year-old woman with a history of mental health problems crashed her car nearly three years ago, escaping with a broken arm.

David Burrett, 67, of Chestnut Avenue, Bradwell, near Yarmouth, had been walking his dog with a friend along the clifftop and dialled 999 after witnessing the drama.

He said: "The car came straight over the cliff, bounced on the way down, and landed on its roof with a bang.

"I was the first person to reach the car and to start with I was horrified to think there might be a baby in it because I could see baby seats and baby clothes."

Mr Burrett cut himself as he forced his way into the badly-crushed vehicle through the driver's door.

"She was trapped. I tried to talk to her and patted her leg but I got no response," he said.

Acting Insp Chris Harvey praised the teamwork shown by police, firefighters and paramedics in dealing with the incident, which was played out in front of a crowd of onlookers.

He said: "The paramedic got her whole body into the car and did some fantastic work with co-operation from firefighters and the police."

Acting Insp Harvey said they had spoken to some witnesses but were especially keen to hear from anyone who saw what happened in the car park as their evidence would probably hold the key to the investigation.

He said: "It is a popular spot and we are fortunate the incident did not lead to further injuries. Luckily, no one was walking along the promenade where the car came to rest."

The area was cordoned off for several hours yesterday while accident investigators tried to piece together what happened.

Four fire appliances, three from Yarmouth and one from Gorleston, were called to the accident, under the command of watch manager Alan Jaye.

He said after establishing there were no children trapped in the car as well, their first intention had been to undertake a controlled rollover.

However, when the paramedic raised concerns over the driver's condition, it was decided to use cutting equipment to get her out quickly.

The woman, whose children are aged eight and five, is believed to have been visiting friends or relatives locally.

She was taken to James Paget Hospital, Gorleston, where her condition last night was described as "stable".

Coastguards had also mobilised their Gorleston team to the scene to assist the initial operation.

Witnesses should contact PC Jamie Hutchin at eastern area road policing on 0845 456 4567.


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