A huge chunk of a cliff has collapsed at West Bay, causing a 1,000-tonne rockfall. 

Emergency services were called to East Beach at about 5.30pm yesterday (Tuesday).

West Bay Coastguard Rescue Team and Dorset Police were first at the scene and quickly searched the area - almost the  same spot as a major rockfall in 2018 and likely to be the remainder of that fall. 

Nobody was found, but officers could not be certain people were not trapped under the cliff or needed rescuing.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

To be sure, the fire and ambulance services were requested and firefighters from stations in Bridport, Charmouth and Dorchester attended, along with technical rescue teams from Weymouth.

Searches proved inconclusive, and so thermal imaging, the police helicopter and a search dog were called for.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

Response: Coastguards

The emergency services were stood down at about 8pm.

Police are making enquiries to establish if anyone was in the area at the time of the fall and anyone with information or concerns can contact themon 101, quoting crime number 12:271.

A spokesman for West Bay Coastguard Rescue Team said it was 'much better to be safe than sorry' given people been hurt or killed by such falls in recent years.

Coastguards officers have since closed off a section of the coast path and signs are in place to prevent the public from accessing the area.

"The cliff was still active when we arrived at the beach," the spokesman said.

Engineers checked the site early this morning (Wednesday) and the council will decide if it is safe to reopen. 

Dorset Council said: "There's been a large rockfall of approximately 1,000 tonnes at East Cliff, West Bay.

"Police and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency have closed the coastal path between West Bay and Freshwater.

"The beach is also closed. Dangerous overhangs from top of cliff. Public advised to stay away."