Saturday, July 21

Tragic Deaths Illustrate How Fate Has Us At It's Beck And Call

Beaminster tunnel disaster
Beaminster Tunnel
As I have mentioned a couple of times we have had some terrible weather in England and Wales. There has been torrential rain, the worst since records began, which has caused flooding, landslides and the like.

There was one very nasty disaster reported on our local south-west television news and it illustrates how easily we can be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Almost as if fate has us at it's beck and call.

Rosemary Snell and Michael Rolfe were described as elderly sweethearts at 67 and 72. They had been out for a romantic restaurant meal at the Bridge House Hotel. On their way home they drove through the Beaminster Tunnel just as a landslip occurred, because of the severe weather. They, and their car, were buried under tons of dislodged earth and rubble. Sadly they both died.

The extra horrible part was that they were entombed for ten days without anyone realising where they were.

The Assistant Chief Constable of Dorset Police said, "This was a tragic, freak accident. It was a chance in a million that they happened to be driving out of the end of the tunnel when the landslide swept through."

A million to one - but there is more to the story. At the restaurant the couple decided not to have coffee after their meal, because of the 'atrocious weather'. If they had lingered as expected over coffee they would have arrived at the tunnel after the mudslide had fallen.

A member of staff from the restaurant left ten minutes later than the couple and reached the tunnel after it had become blocked - so he turned round and went another way, never realising that anyone was buried underneath the landfall.

It does almost appear that through circumstances beyond our control we can be dragged into something we would wish to avoid. Yet at other times we may be aided to miss something horrific. Who or what decides who will suffer and who will be saved?

The Beaminster Horn Hill Tunnel was opened on the 29th of June 1832 and is the only pre-railway road tunnel in everyday use today.

Dorset Police: Latest update on landslide at Beaminster Tunnel

Further Reading:
The Stellar Coincidence Of Stella Stella
It Was Written In The Stars That They Would Meet
Photo Taken Of Father Showed His Missing Daughter

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  1. Provocative post, Mike. many thing seem to hinge on that. What if I had waited five minutes or not gone out at all; what if, what if...

    1. So right, Trish, our lives are full of 'ifs'

  2. Interesting as the slide must have completely covered the car.

    As I'm sure so many are wondering if they were alive or did the force and pressure break the windows and suffocate them immediately? With today's advanced forensics I'm sure they could get a fairly good idea.

    By the way Mike, we could due with some of that rain in the Midwest over here. It's one of the worst droughts in history.

    Scott McMan

    1. They died straight away as the car was crushed but weren't found for 10 days - even though police had used some sort of equipment to check if anyone could have been under the tons of rock, soil, mud etc. It was only when the rubble was being moved that they discovered the car and bodies.

      You are welcome to our rain though - fingers crossed - the forecast is sunshine for the first time this summer. Hopefully it will stay that way for the Olympics.

  3. Sad but there's no telling the ripple affect on others' lives. Interesting Mike.

    1. I guess everything that happens has a ripple effect.