24 July 2012

Breaking news – at least one person reported trapped in a landslide in Dorset, UK

Posted by Dave Petley

Updates at the bottom of the post

Various news agencies are breaking the news that there may have been a major landslide at Freshwater Beach near to Burton Bradstock, in Dorset, SW England.  The landslide reportedly occurred at 12:30.  The ambulance service is reporting that at least one person may be trapped and that others may be missing. Search and Rescue teams, and helicopters, are on the scene.

Stories include the BBC:


And ITV:


Although news is currently very sketchy, the location is reported on Twitter to be close to the Freshwater Beach Holiday Park, which is I think this one:

However, this is rather uncertain at the moment.


15:16 BST: Suggestions are that the missing person is a 23 year old woman.  Unconfirmed reports suggest that there may have been two landslides 20 minutes apart.

15:21 BST: Landslide reported to be 400 metres from caravan park

15:29: First image of the landslide.  Looks like a large cliff collapse  on to what may have been a busy beach on a very sunny day in the school holidays.  With a bit of luck everyone got out of the way.  Hopefully the apparent lack of urgency mens that no-one is trapped, but it could be that the site is considered to be too dangerous to enter

This site appears to the to the east of the caravan park in the sandstone cliffs.

Update 15:40 BST: Fire and Rescue services say at least one person is trapped, there may be others (hopefully not).

Update 15:47: Fantastic field guide to the cliffs here, by Ian West of Southampton University. We used to use the Bridport Sands from this location as the reference material for rock mechanics tests when I was doing my PhD.  Rockfalls on these cliffs are very common.  Ian has an image of a previous (2005) event on his website:


Update 16:24 BST: Dorset Scouser has some images of the landslide from the sea: