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Landslide warning after heavy rain wreaks havoc in west Dorset
COASTGUARDS have warned people to stop risking their lives as heavy rains and landslides wreak havoc along the West Dorset coast.
Fossil hunters have been clambering over recent falls looking for specimens despite repeated pleas to stay away in some part of the Dorset coast.
Dorset County Council has cordoned off dangerous areas but coastguards fear some people are continuing to dice with death by walking through the danger zones.
A spokesman for Portland Coastguard has urged people to heed their warnings and said rescue teams are monitoring the situation closely.
The spokesman added: “Some people flout safety warnings by venturing too close to the perilous cliffs along the coast.
“We are urging people to be really very, very careful.
“The heavy rainfall has created dangerous conditions along the coast but even if we have a dry spell it is still a risk and prone to collapse.”
West Bay coastguard station officer Mark Collins warned people to be wary of all the cliffs either side of West Bay.
He said: “Due to the weather all the stretch of cliffs in our patch, ranging form Seatown to the other side of Burton, are all dangerous.
“I would not advise walking the tops or close to the bottom either way, especially with the weather we are getting they are just too unstable to predict what could happen.”
One woman was lucky to be alive after she and her dog were swept into the sea, and a landslip damaged a chalet at Lyme Regis in the most recent torrential rains.
A spokesman for Portland Coastguard said that the woman made it back to the beach unaided at Charmouth but was very distressed as her Jack Russell, Millie, was still in the sea.
He said: “The owner was reluctant to return to the shore without trying to save her dog.”
The woman was checked over by the coastguard helicopter winchman.
It was one of several incidents dealt with by the Portland Maritime Rescue and Co-ordination Centre as they helped to rescue walkers, windsurfers and issued safety advice over the past week.
Other alerts included walkers feared to be in difficulty and cut off by the tide at Monmouth Beach, Lyme Regis.
Lyme Regis Coastguard rescue officers were sent to investigate but found that several people had ignored safety advice and were fossil hunting among the recent landslips.
Coastguards said that the walkers did not appear to be in difficulty but issued a safety warning.
A spokesman for the coastguard said: “With the recent torrential rain, people must be aware the coastline is extremely fragile.”
The undercliff coast path in Lyme Regis was closed by Natural England because of significant landslip movement.
- LANDSLIPS at Lyme Regis have left a chalet teetering on a cliff. Police were called to the Monmouth Beach and Ware Cliff area on Friday after the cliff crumbled on to a chalet.
The chalet, which had recently been bought, was pushed down the cliff when rubble buckled the stilts. Just days earlier, the town council moved two caravans as debris fell on to a caravan and came dangerously close to another.
Deputy town clerk John Wright said: “There was some earth movement on Ware Cliff and the earth pushed the chalet forward. It was on stilts and the front stilts buckled over.
“As a precaution we cordoned off that top section of chalets on Ware Cliff. Everybody has been notified in the cordoned off area. “The chalet owner has just recently bought it and he was upset.”