People at risk under East Cliff, West Bay

Officers were alerted by Solent Coastguard NMOC (National Maritime Operations Centre) last week to reports from RNLI Lifeguards that 20-30 people were putting themselves at risk under East Cliff in West Bay.

Three rescue officers from the West Bay team, including the team’s deputy station officer, quickly responded to the station, picked up their equipment and the team’s vehicle, then headed for East Pier to meet Lifeguards.

On arrival, it was found that a good portion of the public had moved to areas of safety, but there were still a number of families who had set up for the day under the cliffs, as well as another group who were hammering away at the cliff face looking for fossils.

Officers relocated to the East Beach car park and patrolled on foot under East Cliff giving safety advice to all of those at risk.

As the general area was busy, the officers then returned to their vehicle and headed for Hive Beach to conduct a similar foot patrol.

Again, a number of people had set up for the day directly under the cliffs and appropriate safety advice was given.

Due to the recent hot weather combined with short sharp periods of heavy rain, multiple cliffs falls are being reported around the country most notably on the South Coast, Norfolk, Wales and Yorkshire.

Said a coastguard spokesman: “All of the people we spoke to were very receptive, thankful for the advice and subsequently moved to safer areas, but we again ask people to please pay attention to all of the local warning signs, use good judgement and keep your families safe this summer.

“Very sadly, we have to report that while the West Bay officers were giving safety advice at Hive Beach, our colleagues from Staithes Coastguard Rescue Team in North Yorkshire were being deployed to a large cliff fall in their area, where tragically, a nine year old girl subsequently lost her life.

“Our thoughts are with the young girl’s family and all of the emergency services who responded to this devastating incident.

“Please stay safe on the coast this summer, but if you find yourself in difficulty or if you are concerned for others, do not hesitate. Dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”