Wednesday, 18 September, 2019

Three killed as cliff collapses onto popular California beach

One person was killed and at least four others were injured after a bluff collapsed at an Encinitas beach One person was killed and at least four others were injured after a bluff collapsed at an Encinitas beach
Patty Aguilar | 05 August, 2019, 01:51

A popular Southern California surfing beach is closed after a sea cliff collapsed, sending tons of sandstone onto beachgoers and killing three people.

The bluff, on Grandview Beach in Encinitas, California, which is north of San Diego, collapsed around 3 p.m. on Friday, city officials said, sharing the news on the city's Twitter account. Two other people were injured.

The cliff collapse that killed three women Friday in Encinitas, Calif., remains active and it is unclear when the area will reopen. An additional victim was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital and treated for minor injuries.

Brencick said there were multiple signs posted at the beach, and at many other California beaches warning individuals to stay back from the bluffs.

As reported by CNN, Encinitas Fire Chief Mike Stein says that the collapse left over 18 metres of debris material on the beach.

Search and rescue personnel work at the site of a cliff collapse at a popular beach in Encinitas, California, on August 2, 2019.

Homes on top of the bluff were not in any danger, Stein said. The area is popular with locals and vacationers.

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The victims were part of the same family: a 35-year-old woman, her 65-year-old mother and her aunt.

The resident, who gave his name as Jim, said there were children and about a dozen adults in the group the bluff collapsed onto, and it appeared as if it could have been a family gathering. Rescue crews brought in service dogs to search for victims.

The suburbs north of San Diego have contended with rising water levels in the Pacific Ocean, pressuring bluffs along the coast.

The rescue team initially used hand tools and buckets to move the sandstone, but officials said that they later planned to send in heavy equipment like front end loaders, said Encinitas Lifeguard Department Captain Larry Giles. Some are fortified with concrete walls to prevent multimillion-dollar homes from falling into the sea. "There's really no rhyme or reason, but that's what it does naturally ...

All of these bluffs have water seepage", said Brian Ketterer with California State Parks. "It actually has these failures". It is fairly narrow, with tides high this week.

People lounging on beach chairs or blankets are sometimes surprised as waves roll past them and within a few metres of the walls. Surfers lay their boards upright against the bluff.

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