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Cliff plunge car 'doing over 30mph'

A car which plunged off a 100-metre (328ft) cliff, killing the man and woman inside, is believed to have been travelling at over 30mph, the coastguard has said.

The blue Renault Scenic was seen to drive off the edge of Culver Down cliffs near Bembridge, Isle of Wight, just after 8pm on Wednesday before crashing on to the beach below.

The bodies of a woman aged in her 40s and a man in his 50s, who both lived on the island, were thrown from the vehicle.

The speed at which the car was travelling meant it did not hit any of the cliff on its way down, according to Mike Forsyth-Caffrey, sector manager for Isle of Wight Coastguard.

He said: "Solent Coastguard received a 999 call from a person saying they had seen a car from the Culver Haven car park disappear over the fields and over the cliff. I think they would have been travelling in excess of 30mph at least.

"From a standing point in the car park they would have overcome the ditch and the barbed wire fence barrier before they have gone over. We think it was travelling at a fair lick because it hasn't hit anything from the cliff as it has fallen down."

A Hampshire and Isle of Wight police spokesman said that immediate next-of-kin of the two deceased had been informed. He said the relatives were from different parts of the UK and formal identification procedures would take place later this week.

The spokesman said: "The couple who died were a man aged in his 50s and a woman aged in her 40s. They both lived on the Isle of Wight." He added that post-mortem examinations were due to take place later.

Inspector Colin Hall, of Hampshire and Isle of Wight police, said: "Our investigation is focused on the couple's behaviour shortly before the car went over the cliff. We must consider every possibility at this early stage but detectives are not looking for anyone else suspected of being responsible for the deaths.

"We're continuing to appeal for more witnesses who may have seen a couple in a blue Renault Scenic car in or near the top car park at Culver on Wednesday evening."

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