Families risk lives by sunbathing under dangerous cliffs

RISKY: Sunbathers risking their lives by sitting at the base of the cliffs on East Beach

RISKY: Sunbathers risking their lives by sitting at the base of the cliffs on East Beach

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

SUNBBATHERS are continuing to risk their lives by relaxing under dangerous cliffs.

Coastguards have long warned of the possibility of rock falls along the Jurassic Coast.

But it seems these beachgoers at West Bay are ignoring the warnings.

It may seem stable in the sunshine- but it is just ‘a matter of time’ until the next landslide, experts have warned.

A spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “The MCA's advice is to never assume that a rock face is stable and stay well away from the foot of a cliff when visiting beaches with a cliff backdrop - especially where there is evidence of a recent significant collapse, as seen in the West Bay area."

An estimated 400 tonnes of rock fell on to the beach in February this year, leaving a large portion of the cliff face unstable.

The two-year anniversary of the death of Charlotte Blackman, 22, who was killed in a landslide at Freshwater, will be on July 24.

Jurassic Coast science manager Richard Edmonds said it is an ‘unnecessary risk.’ He said: “Although the risk is relatively low, you can avoid that risk altogether by staying away. And although the risk is low, the consequences if you are underneath and there is a rockfall are extreme.

“I don’t know whether people actually appreciate or understand the risk they are taking. And you can avoid that risk entirely by staying away from the cliffs.

“You can debate whether maybe because rockfalls are so infrequent it’s okay; but it’s still something it would be better to avoid altogether.”

He said although the risk to one person remains the same, the chances of a major incident are increased the more people choose to take that risk.

Earlier this month the Broadchurch production crew came under fire after they were spotted sitting atop East Cliff.

At the time, a spokesman for Portland Coastguard told the Echo: “We always advise people to stay away from cliff edges because they are so unstable, and especially this year with the weather we have had. There is a fairly fresh fall near East Cliff.

“People need to stay away and definitely away from the recent fall; either below the cliffs or anywhere that’s overhanging.

“It can go in an instant and doesn’t give any warning. It is definitely not wise to go near the edge.”


Comments (3)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

12:29pm Thu 3 Jul 14

caapprentice says...

They won't sit there again after the cliff falls onto them!
They won't sit there again after the cliff falls onto them! caapprentice
  • Score: 2

6:18pm Thu 3 Jul 14

katzeye299 says...

shut the beach
shut the beach katzeye299
  • Score: -2

7:46pm Thu 3 Jul 14

Dorset Boy says...

You cannot educate pork about safety
You cannot educate pork about safety Dorset Boy
  • Score: 1

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree