A major emergency services response was called to a Dorset beach after a cliff gave way. 

HM Coastguard received a flurry of 999 calls from members of the public on the beach at West Bay and fishermen out on the water at around 6.45pm.

Dorset Echo: Emergency services at West Bay on Sunday night

Drone footage by Robert Cox shows the emergency services presence 

They reported a cliff fall along East Beach and some suggested there may have been people near the area at around that time. 

No one was reported missing or injured, however a thorough search will always be carried out to make certain.  

Dorset Echo:

Picture: Jennifer Mulcahey

West Bay coastguard rescue team led the search operation, with support from Dorset Police officers and firefighters from Bridport, Dorchester and Weymouth.  

South Western Ambulance service sent one ambulance and its Hazardous Area Response Team (HART), which works alongside emergency services within hazardous environments.

READ: Rockfall blocks off beach near Charmouth

High tide and the risk of another fall made access to the area impossible.

A drone was sent to check the area and nothing was found.

Accounts from those who saw the collapse while out on the water suggested no one was in the area at the time of the collapse.

Dorset Echo:

Picture: Jennifer Mulcahey 

The Environment Agency checked CCTV from East Pier and confirmed no one was on the footpath or beneath the cliff at the time.

READ: Tragedy as woman dies at Dorset beach 

Entrance to the beach has been cordoned off, as has the coast path between West Bay and Freshwater, and the area will be assessed by Dorset Council today. 

Pictures taken by the Bridport News earlier the same evening show beachgoers beneath the base of the cliffs on what was a gloriously hot - and busy - day at the beach. 
Dorset Echo:

Picture: Jennifer Mulcahey 

Thankfully, the tide was already coming in and the area further along the beach was clear by time it did give way.

There are numerous warning signs at various locations near the beach and cliffs warning people of the risk of rockfalls. 

Dorset Echo: Picture: Jennifer Mulcahey

Rockfalls can happen at any time but are more likely after periods of extreme weather - a prime example being Friday's torrential rain followed by a weekend of scorching heat.

Back in January, a huge cliff fall took place in the same area after days of heavy rain. 

Part of the beach was cut off, with no access to Burton Bradstock from West Bay and vice versa. 


The Jurassic Coast Trust has the following advice for staying safe at the coast:

  • When visiting the Jurassic Coast, do not take unnecessary risks and stay away from the edge of the cliff top
  • Stay away from the base of cliffs: rock falls can happen at any time
  • Do not climb or walk over landslide or rock fall debris, especially after wet weather
  • Always pay attention to warning signs; they are there to advise you on how to stay safe
  • Check the weather forecast before you go
  • Beware of steep, shelving beaches and large waves
  • Be aware of tide times. The sea comes in and out twice a day and it is possible to get cut off by the incoming tide or forced up against the cliffs
  • If you are looking for fossils, do not hammer into the cliffs or solid rock as this will cause long-lasting damage and can be dangerous