Holidaymakers visiting the UK’s Dorset coast have been warned to be extra vigilant after a 22-year old woman died yesterday when she was caught in a landslide beneath the county’s famous coastal cliffs.
The landslide, on a stretch of cliffs near Burton Bradstock, claimed the life of Charlotte Blackman, a Derbyshire resident who was out walking with her boyfriend and her father. The two men were also trapped in the 35-foot deep pile of rubble, which gave way just after 12.30pm yesterday.
The accident has resulted in warnings being issued to other holidaymakers in the area to take care when in the vicinity of the coastal cliffs, as it is believed that more landslides are possible due to the terrain having been made unstable by the current hot, dry weather, following on the heels of a prolonged period of rain.
A statement on a visitor information website for the area, www.jurassiccoast.com, reads, ‘There is a heightened risk of rock falls anywhere and at any time along the coast while landslides have delivered thick mudflows and quicksands to the beaches in many places. One of the hidden hazards is that the sea can wash sand and shingle over the mud and quicksand giving the appearance of a solid beach, which is why we advise people to stay well clear of these hazards’.
Dorset Council said that, ‘due to concerns about continuing land stability in the area following the exceptional wet weather,’ the western end of the Esplanade at West Bay, near Burton Bradstock, was closed at the weekend.
The area is a World Heritage Site, dubbed the Jurassic Coast due to its cliffs dating back 250 million years, and the frequency with which prehistoric fossils are found there.