Warning after 'significant' cliff fall at Birling Gap

The UK Coastguard has issued a warning after a cliff fall at Birling Gap this afternoon prompted a search operation to check no one was hurt.

Saturday, 4th August 2018, 6:31 pm
Updated Friday, 31st August 2018, 5:16 pm
Birling Gap cliff fall. 04-08-18. Contributed by Jason Edwards

Jason Edwards, 30, from Eastbourne said he was walking on the beach at around 1pm when he heard 'a massive crack' and the sound of stones and rocks falling and turned to see the cliff falling away.

He said: "This huge cliff face just missed me and my girlfriend, we literally ran for our lives."

The whole fall happened quickly, 'approximately 30 seconds of pure noise', he added.

Birling Gap cliff fall. 04-08-18. Contributed by Jason Edwards

HM Coastguard said it coordinated an 'intensive' search in the area after the 'significant' fall.

A spokesman said: "No one has been injured and there are no reports of anyone missing following an intensive search of the area, involving Coastguard rescue teams, a Coastguard rescue helicopter and Newhaven RNLI lifeboat as well as involvement from Sussex Police and Essex Fire and Rescue."However, Birling Gap Coastguard Rescue officers on scene today are very concerned about public safety and the possibility of more falls and are warning people to give the cliff edges a very wide berth and not to get too close to the top of cliff edges or approach the base of cliffs either.

"As seen in other parts of the country this weekend, the period of dry weather, followed by rain and then a return to warm dry conditions again is increasing the risk of cliff instability and it makes cliff falls more likely."

The coastguard is asking people to stay away from the cliff edge and underneath the cliff face. Photo 04-08-18 by Dan Jessup