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River search over 4x4 plunge

A major search was launched today after a 4x4 vehicle was found almost totally submerged in a river, under a bridge.

North Yorkshire Police said the river search was under way after the car was spotted under Muffels Bridge at Hartoft, near Pickering, on the edge of the North York Moors.

A spokeswoman said: "Emergency services are monitoring the vehicle and conducting river searches down stream, towards the A170.

"Inquiries are ongoing to identify the owner of the vehicle.

"Anyone who may have witnessed the 4x4 vehicle leaving the road at Muffles Bridge, Hartoft, near Pickering, at around 12.20pm is asked to contact North Yorkshire Police."

The incident came as torrential rain swept across the Yorkshire region with reports of some flooding in streets in the Scarborough area.

A helicopter from RAF Leconfield, in East Yorkshire, was scrambled to help in the search but did not find anyone.

One of the pilots, Flight Lieutenant Nigel Lynch, said the weather conditions at the time were terrible and the river was extremely swollen.

Flt Lt Lynch said his crew conducted detailed sweeps of the wooden ravine below the bridge but did not find anything significant.

According to some reports, the vehicle was swept into the water while crossing a ford.

A spokeswoman for North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said specialist rescue teams were continuing to search the river.