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Excavator stuck in quicksand

A £60,000 EXCAVATOR is still stuck in the North Sea nearly two weeks after being consumed by a 'hidden hole', which opened up on a Suffolk beach.

The Hyundai digger, owned by West Sussex firm Mackley Construction, was carrying out work on a £2.5 million coastal protection scheme at Corton, near Lowestoft, when the accident happened last week.

The firm sent in three Caterpillar excavators to rescue the stricken 45-tonne machine, which is trapped in a 1.5 m deep hole but, after three attempts, the excavator failed to budge.

One onlooker said: 'The angle at which it is stuck at plus the suction defeated the pulling power of the Cats.'

A spokesman for client Waveney District Council said: 'The driver was used to using these machines and it appears it went over a hard crust, which was soft underneath, a bit like quicksand.'

Mackley is due to make another attempt to remove the machine at the beginning of next week when the tide is low. The firm declined to comment.

Work on other parts of the scheme, which is using granite imported from Norway, is continuing as normal.