Beach closed after Sussex cliff face crumbles

Birling gap cliff fall. Photo by Eddie Mitchell
Birling gap cliff fall. Photo by Eddie Mitchell

Birling Gap has closed to the public as a safety precaution after two parts of the cliff face gave way yesterday.

An Eastbourne man said he had to run to safety with his girlfriend when the cliff fell away above them yesterday as they were walking on the beach.

Birling gap cliff fall. Photo by Eddie Mitchell

Birling gap cliff fall. Photo by Eddie Mitchell

Jason Edwards, 30, said 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."

Jim van den Bos from Wealden District Council said that as of this morning, the council had closed the steps to access the area. Pictures taken using a drone have since shown two cliff falls in the area.

It comes after a warning from the Coastguard to stay away from the cliffs, which may have become more unstable in the hot dry weather.

Birling gap cliff fall. Photo by Eddie Mitchell

Birling gap cliff fall. Photo by Eddie Mitchell

An 'intensive' search at the time found no sign of anyone hurt or missing after the 'significant' fall.

A spokesman for HM Coastguard 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."

Birling gap cliff fall. Photo by Eddie Mitchell

Birling gap cliff fall. Photo by Eddie Mitchell

See more related news here: https://www.eastbourneherald.co.uk/news/what-it-s-like-to-be-part-of-birling-gap-coastguard-1-8490757