Naphill family: Daughter 'lucky' after car is swallowed by sinkhole - as a second hole is found

Phil and Liz Conran outside their home in Walter's Ash

The Volkswagen Lupo is buried under dirt and debris.

The beginnings of a second sinkhole in the village

News cameras arrive at the scene

First published in News
Last updated
Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A FAMILY has spoken of how their daughter could have been buried alive after her car was swallowed on their driveway by a sinkhole – as experts survey a second large hole in the Walter's Ash area.

The Conran family were fast asleep in their Main Road home when the driveway opened up and swallowed Zoe’s blue Volkswagen Lupo.

The 19-year-old ‘screamed the house down’ after she realised her vehicle was covered in debris at the bottom of the 30ft deep hole on Sunday morning.

Phil Conran told the Free Press: “Zoe was screaming ‘my car, my car’ and we came running.

"We assumed the car couldn’t be in the hole – but it was. We didn’t know who to call in that situation so we phoned police.

“Initially we were joking about it but then it started to sink in – if Zoe was in the car at the time, because she always parks her car in the same spot, she probably wouldn’t have survived. She would’ve been buried.”

The family spent the night at their neighbours’ after being evacuated.

The vehicle is still at the bottom of the pit and Wycombe District Council’s Building Control team are currently onsite investigating.

The car is likely to remain there until experts are happy the structure of the house and the surrounding ground is safe and secure.

Mr Conran said he believes the family home is ‘fine’ but fellow villagers were watching developments closely over fears about their own properties.

The Hughenden Parish Councillor said: “There is some concern because if it has happened here, where else could it happen?

“There is a bit of uncertainty as to whether things have conspired to create this isolated incident or if this is a wider issue.”

The beginnings of a second sinkhole (below) – measuring about 6ft wide and 2ft deep – has been discovered in The Crick playing fields in the village. The council is at the scene.

Bucks Free Press: Second Sinkhole in Walter's Ash

WDC said the situation at the house in Main Road is “under control” and moved to reassure residents that sinkholes are rare.

The council said: “The situation is under control and we are working closely with specialist partner organisations to enable them to carry out the relevant investigative surveys and any subsequent engineering works required to rectify the situation.

“The property owners have been advised to contact their building insurers as soon as possible and advised to find alternative accommodation while further investigations are carried out.”

Sinkholes are usually caused by underground water hollowing out the ground and causing the surface to give way.

Naphill and Walter’s Ash are synonymous with clay mining and brickmaking – which began in the village during the early 1800s.

The brickyards in the village closed in about 1950 to make way for the housing estate for Royal Air Force personnel stationed at the base.

Zoe is due to appear on BBC’s The One Show at 7pm tonight.

A Horizon documentary about sinkholes is also being screened on BBC Two at 9pm.

Comments (6)

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3:51pm Mon 3 Feb 14

reading says...

GOOD TO SEE YOU TAKING NOTICE OF THE FIRE BRIGADES TAPE !!!!
GOOD TO SEE YOU TAKING NOTICE OF THE FIRE BRIGADES TAPE !!!! reading
  • Score: -2

5:43pm Mon 3 Feb 14

motco says...

My daughter is luckier, her car is still parked outside her house!
My daughter is luckier, her car is still parked outside her house! motco
  • Score: 10

9:22pm Mon 3 Feb 14

jonjonjon123 says...

Lucky escape. Hard to explain that 1 to the insurance company
Lucky escape. Hard to explain that 1 to the insurance company jonjonjon123
  • Score: 7

3:23pm Tue 4 Feb 14

Dickitdo says...

How is this young lady lucky , the ground has swallowed her car ! .
How is this young lady lucky , the ground has swallowed her car ! . Dickitdo
  • Score: 25

3:55pm Thu 13 Feb 14

Dickitdo says...

Dickitdo wrote:
How is this young lady lucky , the ground has swallowed her car ! .
Now Zoe is Lucky ! . She was loaned a car by Coles and Blackwell and given another car by Auto trader .A lovely story , It really makes a change to read a Heart warming story like this
[quote][p][bold]Dickitdo[/bold] wrote: How is this young lady lucky , the ground has swallowed her car ! .[/p][/quote]Now Zoe is Lucky ! . She was loaned a car by Coles and Blackwell and given another car by Auto trader .A lovely story , It really makes a change to read a Heart warming story like this Dickitdo
  • Score: 4

12:12pm Tue 4 Mar 14

holymolybatman says...

i think theze sink wholes are maid by alians from anuvar planit just like the crop surcals
i think theze sink wholes are maid by alians from anuvar planit just like the crop surcals holymolybatman
  • Score: 0

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