UPDATE: Police name 89-year-old man who died in Southwold Harbour car plunge

Police have named the 89-year-old man who died when the car he was in plunged into the water of Southwold Harbour.

Suffolk police this afternoon named the man as Philip Charles Evans, from Wangford, near Beccles.

Police said an inquest would be opened in due course.

A police spokesman also said it is believed no one else was in the Renault Kangoo when it ploughed into the harbour waters.

Late last night emergency services pulled out a maroon Renault Kangoo, which witnesses said had driven at speed off the harbour yesterday afternoon, crashing through at least three barriers before plummeting into the river.

You may also want to watch:

Police received a call from a 999 call from a member of the public at 3pm reporting that a car with people inside had driven through railings near the lifeboat station and plummeted into the water.

The caller said the car was filling quickly with water and a rescue operation was launched, with lifeboat crews trying to save the occupants of the maroon-coloured vehicle.

Most Read

By 5pm it was clear that no-one had been rescued alive, with a red marker placed above the vehicle, circled by two lifeboat crews.

Police said a witness had heard that the vehicle had revved up before it ended up in the water. The car was submerged beneath a metre of water and once the tide came in it made it harder for rescuers to reach it.

As the rescue operation got underway onlookers gathered on both sides of the harbour, large of parts of which had been sealed off by police.

Sgt Nigel Tompsett, head of the Southwold and Halesworth Safer Neighbourhood Team, who was the first police officer on the scene, said: 'The lifeboat was launched, the car was still partially visible - just a small part of the end.'

Sgt Tompsett said an elderly couple had been at the harbourside when the accident happened. They had heard a revving noise and the car drove past them, crashing through three barriers and then plunging into the River Blyth.

The couple were said to be shocked and upset by what they had witnessed.

Just before 9pm a crane appeared at the scene, with divers from the Metropolitan Police understood to be travelling from London to assist with the recovery.

by 9.45pm the car was removed from the river and was placed on the quayside in front of a white tent. The front of the car was damaged and the windscreen appeared to have been smashed.

About 10 police officers attended the initial call-out along with firefighters, the East Anglian Air Ambulance and paramedics, who could only watch as the rescue attempt proved fruitless.

Rick Stephenson, coastguard sector manager, who co-ordinated seven volunteer rescue officers based at Lowestoft, said: 'On arrival the vehicle was already one metre underwater.'

Both police and coastguard said they had attended similar incidents in recent years where vehicles had gone into water at Lowestoft and Martham Ferry.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus