The notorious Forty Foot Drain has claimed five lives in six weeks. Three people died in its icy waters in the early hours of last Wednesday. A father and son were in the car with another man and a woman. Miraculously, the son, aged 19, survived. Report b

Police still searching for survivors and one of the cars involved in the crash just feet from the water.

The notorious Forty Foot Drain has claimed five lives in six weeks. Three people died in its icy waters in the early hours of last Wednesday. A father and son were in the car with another man and a woman. Miraculously, the son, aged 19, survived.

Report by IAN MacKELLAR and ANGELA SINGER

TWO Portuguese men and a woman died last week when their car left the B 1049 road between Ramsey Forty Foot and Chatteris, after a collision and ended up in the drain.

The Vauxhall only feet away from the water

The three were on their way to work at 5am at a vegetable-packing plant in Chatteris.

A fourth person, a 19-year-old has described how he fought his way out of the car - in a tragedy which claimed the life of his father and two other people.

Miguel Marmeleria survived with cuts and bruises after he made a hole in the cracked windscreen and was sucked out of the car. He says he does not remember swimming to the surface or getting to the bank. He hoped the others would follow him but no one else survived.

He said he could hear his father, Jose, and friend Carlos Condeco, trying to break the windows with their hands, but no one spoke.

Miguel, who was in the front passenger seat, said his father's red Hyundai was overtaking a skip lorry when there was a collision with a Vauxhall Cavalier coming in the opposite direction. The Hyundai sank 15 feet into the Ramsey Forty Foot drain, killing Miguel's father, Jose, 49, who was driving and 46-year-old Carlos Condeco, a passenger. The third victim, also a passenger, was Cidalina Da Silva Tavares De Oliveira, aged 56.

All of them lived in Harris Street, Peterborough, and worked at the Rustler Produce onion factory in Chatteris.

The men had worked at the factory for three years and Mrs De Oliveira for a year. Mrs De Oliveira's son, George, 38, and grandson, Filipe travelled from Frankfurt to identify her body and are planning to take her back to Germany for burial.

The 31-year-old Kurdish driver of the Vauxhall from Peterborough, was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving and later released on police bail to return on April 5.

This was the second multiple fatal accident on the road in less than two months, after a Chatteris father and his seven-year-old son, Dean and Jordan Hawes, perished there just before Christmas.

Along another stretch of the drain, near Ramsey St Mary's, 17-year-old Tom Jones, from Ramsey was killed on April 29 last year as he walked home with friends from a sixth form party. He was struck by a car and thrown into the river.

Last Wednesday, police were called to the scene at 5.40am. At first, it was thought that the Cavalier and a blue Volvo skip lorry had been the two vehicles involved and that both had ended up immersed in the drain.

Police said later in the day that the lorry had not been involved in the collision, and that neither it nor the Cavalier had entered the water.

Divers from Spartan Rescue were called in to help with recovery of the three bodies from the submerged Hyundai. Police re-opened the road mid-afternoon on Wednesday.