Warning after beach rescues at Birling Gap

Damaged steps at Birling Gap
Damaged steps at Birling Gap

A man had to be rescued from Birling Gap last week after he became cut off by the incoming spring tides.

It was the second rescue from the area in just two days after a woman also became trapped by the incoming tide, sparking emergency services to warn people to check before embarking on a shoreline walk.

Both the man and the woman had walked to the area without realising the Birling Gap steps have been closed off due to recent rock falls from the cliffs, emergency services said.

Unable to climb up the steps, the tide began to come in, trapping them on the beach below.

Local coastguards requested Newhaven lifeboat launch to assist the man.

A spokesman said: “En route the crew prepared the inflatable Y boat. Once on scene the Y boat was launched with three crew on board as there was considerable surf breaking on the shoreline.

“The Y boat used its anchor to safely access and leave the beach through the surf. The casualty was evacuated from the beach by the Y boat.

“He was found to be safe and well and no medical attention was required.”

The spokesman said the man was an Eastbourne resident who had walked from Eastbourne to Birling Gap but was unaware that the steps at Birling Gap had been removed for repairs after the recent storms.

He was taken back to Newhaven lifeboat station from where he made his way home.

Deputy Second Coxswain Phill Corsi added: “This is the second incident of this nature in two days, it is really important to check with the HM Coastguards that any route is fully accessible before embarking on any shoreline walk at present due to the significant coastal erosion which has taken place.”

The young woman rescued the day before, was a university student who was walking from Seaford to Birling Gap.

The lifeboat service said the Y boat was launched with two crew on board to rescue her.

She was taken back to Newhaven lifeboat station from where she made her way home.

The coastguard said both had allowed ample time and had planned their journey well. The incidents took place on March 5 and March 6.

Last week the Express reported how recent rock falls put the cottages at Birling Gap precariously close to the cliff edge. You can see video footage of the latest rock fall at Birling Gap at www.sussexexpress.co.uk