Cliff fall is serious danger, warns coastguard as people ignore warning tape

Cliff fall is serious danger, warns coastguard as people ignore warning tape

Cliff fall is serious danger, warns coastguard as people ignore warning tape

First published in News

MEMBERS of the public are continuing to risk their lives by ignoring the threat posed by collapsing cliffs above a Dorset beach.

Coastguards have closed a large section of the north beach in Swanage, including Burlington Chine and Sheps Hollow, amid fears that tonnes of sandstone, clay and vegetation could come tumbling down at any time.

But despite the area being taped off, people are continuing to dice with death by walking through the danger zone – sometimes accompanied by children and dogs.

Exasperated Swanage Coastguard Station volunteers are pleading with them to heed their warnings. They have been monitoring the situation closely and have seen at close hand how the landscape can change in a matter of minutes.

One man was even photographed trying to clear debris off the roof of his privately-owned beach hut as the rest of the landslip loomed menacingly above him.

Gareth Kitching, deputy station officer at Swanage Coastguards, said: “He would have been through about five lots of tape. People on the beach were calling up to him but he was ignoring advice.

“Ultimately he’s foolish. He has ignored numerous warnings and safety cordons, put his own life at risk and endangered emergency services. We didn’t have a chance to chat to him, but if we do, we will offer him strong words of advice.

“On the Sunday before Christmas we spoke to 200-300 people and explained the danger. It was incredible how they thought the closure didn’t apply to them. The majority turned back, because they were putting other emergency workers at risk.

“The tape is there for a reason: there’s immediate danger. Ultimately we don’t know when the cliff will fall – it could be many months or it could be two days – but it will fall at some point and there won’t be any warning. We need to protect life.”

The Echo visited the area on Saturday with Gareth and two of his volunteer colleagues, Nick Field and Steve Lacey. Large cracks have opened up in the cliff and one householder has had part of her garden taped off because the ground under her fence is disappearing.

In one place, a beach hut has been pushed forward by a slippage, and in another, old railway sleepers at the base of the cliff are bowing. At least one householder has lost part of her garden, and one of a pair of World War Two pillboxes has been buried.

The material washed on to the beach by the rain is also creating areas of quicksand on the beach, raising concerns that a child or a dog could become stuck.

“So far we’ve spent more than 150 man hours on this, which is quite significant for a 10-man team of volunteers,” said Gareth.

He advised anyone setting out to walk by the coastline to check weather conditions before leaving, take a mobile telephone, and call 999 if they find themselves in difficulties.

See swanagecoastguard.blogspot.co.uk

Comments (10)

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9:54am Mon 31 Dec 12

Rikaroony says...

Let them get on with it. If they are going to try and be heroes by thinking they are invincible then stuff em. Warning signs are there, they have been told. Lets not go there and hold their hands to "educate them" waste of time and money.
Let them get on with it. If they are going to try and be heroes by thinking they are invincible then stuff em. Warning signs are there, they have been told. Lets not go there and hold their hands to "educate them" waste of time and money. Rikaroony
  • Score: 0

9:58am Mon 31 Dec 12

live-and-let-live says...

after a few years of being warned about rain, wind, slight drops in temperature, slight rises in temperature, , dont forget your umbrella, hat, scarf, gloves, sun block, snow shovels, flask of hot drinks, dont leave the house when it might get frosty, all these things tend to make people a bit careless. the boy who called wolf did it just once too often. leave us alone to live our lives then when there is a genuine risk, we might think about it.
after a few years of being warned about rain, wind, slight drops in temperature, slight rises in temperature, , dont forget your umbrella, hat, scarf, gloves, sun block, snow shovels, flask of hot drinks, dont leave the house when it might get frosty, all these things tend to make people a bit careless. the boy who called wolf did it just once too often. leave us alone to live our lives then when there is a genuine risk, we might think about it. live-and-let-live
  • Score: 0

10:48am Mon 31 Dec 12

ksurfer says...

live-and-let-live wrote:
after a few years of being warned about rain, wind, slight drops in temperature, slight rises in temperature, , dont forget your umbrella, hat, scarf, gloves, sun block, snow shovels, flask of hot drinks, dont leave the house when it might get frosty, all these things tend to make people a bit careless. the boy who called wolf did it just once too often. leave us alone to live our lives then when there is a genuine risk, we might think about it.
after all there are always volunteers ready to risk their lives to save idiots that ignore warning signs
[quote][p][bold]live-and-let-live[/bold] wrote: after a few years of being warned about rain, wind, slight drops in temperature, slight rises in temperature, , dont forget your umbrella, hat, scarf, gloves, sun block, snow shovels, flask of hot drinks, dont leave the house when it might get frosty, all these things tend to make people a bit careless. the boy who called wolf did it just once too often. leave us alone to live our lives then when there is a genuine risk, we might think about it.[/p][/quote]after all there are always volunteers ready to risk their lives to save idiots that ignore warning signs ksurfer
  • Score: 0

10:57am Mon 31 Dec 12

Futurekix says...

If I were the coastguard and the cliff fell on top of people who had ignored the warnings then i would not help them. The emergency services are there to provide a rescue service to those in dire need of help as a result of an accident or serious illness. Why should they be over stretched due to the actions of people who seem to be blissfully unaware of warnings and situations that might harm them?
If I were the coastguard and the cliff fell on top of people who had ignored the warnings then i would not help them. The emergency services are there to provide a rescue service to those in dire need of help as a result of an accident or serious illness. Why should they be over stretched due to the actions of people who seem to be blissfully unaware of warnings and situations that might harm them? Futurekix
  • Score: 0

12:13pm Mon 31 Dec 12

Adrian XX says...

live-and-let-live wrote:
after a few years of being warned about rain, wind, slight drops in temperature, slight rises in temperature, , dont forget your umbrella, hat, scarf, gloves, sun block, snow shovels, flask of hot drinks, dont leave the house when it might get frosty, all these things tend to make people a bit careless. the boy who called wolf did it just once too often. leave us alone to live our lives then when there is a genuine risk, we might think about it.
I agree. I will always remember the utterly ridiculous situation when there was a rotting whale on the beach near Branksome Chine and a mile long police cordon was required to lift the whale away when there was clearly almost no risk to the public.

Health and safety HAS gone mad so it is no longer possible for the public to determine whether statements of risk from the authorities are valid.
[quote][p][bold]live-and-let-live[/bold] wrote: after a few years of being warned about rain, wind, slight drops in temperature, slight rises in temperature, , dont forget your umbrella, hat, scarf, gloves, sun block, snow shovels, flask of hot drinks, dont leave the house when it might get frosty, all these things tend to make people a bit careless. the boy who called wolf did it just once too often. leave us alone to live our lives then when there is a genuine risk, we might think about it.[/p][/quote]I agree. I will always remember the utterly ridiculous situation when there was a rotting whale on the beach near Branksome Chine and a mile long police cordon was required to lift the whale away when there was clearly almost no risk to the public. Health and safety HAS gone mad so it is no longer possible for the public to determine whether statements of risk from the authorities are valid. Adrian XX
  • Score: 0

1:46pm Mon 31 Dec 12

bosco1 says...

If people want to do silly things and ignore the dangers good luck to them.But dont waste the emergencey services time and make them risk there lives..
If people want to do silly things and ignore the dangers good luck to them.But dont waste the emergencey services time and make them risk there lives.. bosco1
  • Score: 0

3:38pm Mon 31 Dec 12

uvox44 says...

dog walkers don't believe rules apply to them , they believe in their divine right to walk their dogs anywhere , not matter how inconsiderate- ps i like dogs , just not their ignorant owners.
dog walkers don't believe rules apply to them , they believe in their divine right to walk their dogs anywhere , not matter how inconsiderate- ps i like dogs , just not their ignorant owners. uvox44
  • Score: 0

5:02pm Mon 31 Dec 12

Curly Jefferson says...

Obviously the coastguards know the most about the condition of the cliff and how unstable it could be as they have been studying it.. but other people also have their own judgement as to whether its safe to walk past.

The guy cleaning off his hut was a bit of an idiot mind..
Obviously the coastguards know the most about the condition of the cliff and how unstable it could be as they have been studying it.. but other people also have their own judgement as to whether its safe to walk past. The guy cleaning off his hut was a bit of an idiot mind.. Curly Jefferson
  • Score: 0

9:40pm Mon 31 Dec 12

paul.p says...

Some say life is cheap just like the tape. I suppose putting up a crowd barrier was too much like hard work.

Muppets ceate muppets.
Some say life is cheap just like the tape. I suppose putting up a crowd barrier was too much like hard work. Muppets ceate muppets. paul.p
  • Score: 0

9:29am Tue 1 Jan 13

ragj195 says...

Futurekix wrote:
If I were the coastguard and the cliff fell on top of people who had ignored the warnings then i would not help them. The emergency services are there to provide a rescue service to those in dire need of help as a result of an accident or serious illness. Why should they be over stretched due to the actions of people who seem to be blissfully unaware of warnings and situations that might harm them?
Do you also believe the NHS shouldn't treat smoker or fat people?
[quote][p][bold]Futurekix[/bold] wrote: If I were the coastguard and the cliff fell on top of people who had ignored the warnings then i would not help them. The emergency services are there to provide a rescue service to those in dire need of help as a result of an accident or serious illness. Why should they be over stretched due to the actions of people who seem to be blissfully unaware of warnings and situations that might harm them?[/p][/quote]Do you also believe the NHS shouldn't treat smoker or fat people? ragj195
  • Score: 0

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