One of the people who died when their car was buried in a tunnel entrance by a landslide was a stalwart of the Women's Institute, friends said.
Rosemary Snell, who was in her 60s, was well known in the village of Misterton, near Crewkerne, Somerset.
Ms Snell, who played an active role in the local branch of the Women's Institute, was reported missing, along with an unnamed man.
Police inquiries traced the pair to the Beaminster area, near Dorchester, on 7 July, which coincided with heavy rain and a landslide that closed the Beaminster Tunnel.
Excavations of the mud and debris by the fire service located a car at the entrance of the tunnel.
"I think everyone knew her in the village," a villager said.
"She had a magnificent spirit and was most enjoyable company socially. Everyone will be terribly shocked by this."
David Welsh, chairman of Misterton Parish Council, said it was over a day before it was noticed she was missing.
"Investigations were being carried out by local police, who seemed to be quite thorough.
"They had gone into her house and her car to try to trace her whereabouts. I don't think they had many leads at the time.
"Then we took this surprise on the nose earlier this morning when we were informed by the police.
"I don't know if it has been actually confirmed that it is Rosemary, but it seems very highly probable," he told Sky News.
He added: "We realised that she hadn't turned up for some engagements.
"She's an extremely reliable and well-organised person, so concern was raised at that time and the police were contacted and they started their investigation."
Mr Welsh described her as a well-educated woman, who was involved in the Women's Institute and other local groups.
"She was a qualified London guide, she was extremely knowledgeable. In all the village quizzes she always had the most points for knowledge on general subjects.
"(She was) well educated, very active, a lively brain (and) tremendous company," he said.
It is feared that Ms Snell and the man have been buried in their car for more than a week after heavy rain and flooding brought down several hundred tonnes of mud and rubble on to the road and surrounding area.
The A3066 road, which runs through the tunnel, has been closed since the landslide.
Assistant Chief Constable James Vaughan, of Dorset Police, said the Dorset Fire and Rescue Service, police and Dorset County Council searched the tunnel but did not find any vehicle.
"There was no sign of any vehicle and, at this time, there were no reports of any missing people in the surrounding area," Mr Vaughan said.
"It wasn't obvious in any way, shape or form that a vehicle was there."
Meanwhile, concerns had been growing in Somerset for the couple who had been reported missing.
"By the end of last week, those concerns were such that the police began scrutinising telephone records and their banking details, and it became clear that they had been in Beaminster on the weekend of 7 July," Mr Vaughan said.
On Monday Avon and Somerset Police alerted emergency services in Dorset to the possibility of a link between the landslide and the missing persons inquiry.
"Enquiries, involving telephone and bank card data, led Avon and Somerset Police to believe that the missing couple had been in the Beaminster area around 7 July - they had not been seen since," the officer said.
"There were 150 flood warnings in the county at that time, 180 homes had been evacuated, and 400 incidents reported to the police control room.
"This was one of those incidents that was later investigated.
"I can confirm that underneath that mud and that rubble, a vehicle was found that we linked to the couple that are missing from Somerset.
"The vehicle was crushed, the roof was completely flat, and we found at least one body inside, and suspect that among the mud, there is a second body inside the car.
"We have forensically recovered that vehicle to Weymouth police station, where specialist investigators will now take care and time to cut the vehicle open and recover, in a dignified manner, the bodies of these missing people we suspect to be the couple from Somerset.
"Members of the public may ask why it took 10 days to discover these bodies. I offer my condolence to the families of those that perished.
"It was a busy weekend, there are no obvious signs of a vehicle buried in the mud, there are several hundred tons of mud and rubble, and there are no reports of missing people in the area.
"The bridge had been secured safely, and it was only when concerns from Avon and Somerset Police were raised yesterday that we began to search, and the vehicle was discovered."
Ms Snell was a registered London tour guide and was a member of The Guild of Guide Lecturers, where she lists her interests as antiques, gardens and social history.