Coastguards urge public to stop risking lives after several landslips on Dorset coastline (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Coastguards urge public to stop risking lives after several landslips on Dorset coastline
COASTGUARDS are urging members of the public to stop risking their lives after several landslips along the Dorset coastline.
A landslide warning remains in place as heavy downpours caused unstable cliff faces to collapse at Redcliff near Weymouth, Stair Hole near Lulworth Cove and at Swanage.
There have been further reports of movement along parts of the coast around the west of Portland, West Bay, Lyme Regis and Charmouth.
Dozens of fossil hunters have been clambering over recent falls looking for specimens despite repeated pleas to stay away.
Dorset County Council has cordoned off dangerous areas but coastguards claim people are continuing to dice with death by walking through the danger zones.
A spokesman for Portland Coastguard has urged people to heed their warnings and said rescue teams are monitoring the situation closely.
The spokesman added: “Some people flout safety warnings by venturing too close to the perilous cliffs along the coast.
“We are urging people to be really very, very careful. The heavy rainfall has created dangerous conditions along the coast but even if we have a dry spell it is still a risk and prone to collapse.”
Coastguards have closed a large section of the north beach in Swanage 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 pet dogs.
Exasperated Swanage Coast-guard 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.
The Met Office, which issued the warning following advice from the British Geological Survey, said coastal areas in the south-west of England, including Dorset, are in further danger of collapsing cliff edges and rockfall.
Many coastal paths have been closed over the last few weeks along the south west.
Coastguards have closed a large section of the beach in Swanage amid fears that tonnes of sandstone could come tumbling down at any time.
A spokesman for the Met Office said: “We have had such heavy and persistent rain fall over the last few days and weeks and that there is a danger of rockfall along the coast.
“We are advising walkers to take particular care in these dangerous conditions.
“Do not get too close to the cliff edge or walk under the cliff face along the beach and remember that coastal paths could be impacted too.”
Three Deaths Already Caused By Conditions
LANDSLIPS caused by heavy rain in Dorset earlier this year led to three people losing their lives. Rosemary Snell and Michael Rolfe from Somerset were found entombed in a car 10 days after the partial collapse of Beaminster Tunnel in July.
A week after the gruesome discovery, 22-year-old Charlotte Blackman was crushed under 400 tonnes of rock when part of the cliffs at Hive Beach near Burton Bradstock came down.
An inquest into her death at Dorchester before Christmas was told that the rockfall was a ‘sudden act of nature’, which no one could have predicted.
Charlotte, 22, of Heanor in Derbyshire, died despite a major rescue operation, which lasted into the night.
After the tragedy, David Evans, environment director at Dorset County Council, said: “It’s a feature of the Jurassic Coast that rock slides have happened since time immemorial.
“The particular problem here has been created by heavy rainfall.”
Flood warnings remain in place for local rivers and residents urged to take care as more rain is on the way today.
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