Safety plea after two cliff horror falls

Marsden cliff car scene
Marsden cliff car scene

Coastline chiefs have issued a safety warning after two horror cliff-edge falls in thick fog within three days.

A man fell to his death near to Souter Lighthouse in Coast Road, Whitburn on Tuesday night, while a 25-year-old woman is in a critical condition after her car plunged off the cliffs at Marsden Grotto on Monday morning.

Souter Lighthouse.

Souter Lighthouse.

Now experts are warning people to stay well away from the cliff edge - especially in bad weather.

No details have been released on the man who died, but police say the woman, who was taken to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary with serious injuries is described as ‘stable’.

Eric Whitton, the National Trust’s general manger for Souter and the Leas, said: “The cliffs can be very dangerous. We have recently had a broken barrier fixed to help make the area more secure.

“But we urge people to stay on the landward side of the barriers for their own safety.”

The cliffs can be very dangerous.

Eric Whitton

Thick fog has been present along the coastline over the last few days - making visibility low.

The UK Coastguard is encouraging people to take extra precautions if they insist on walking near the cliff edge.

A spokesperson for the UK Coastguard said: “We would advise anyone that’s taking a trip to the coast to check the weather and tidal conditions before they set out so they can prepare accordingly.

“Fog can appear quickly and be dangerous and disorientating. We would advise people to check the tide times – this information is widely available on the web.

“Check the weather forecast. Be aware of the potential for fog even following pleasant clear weather, wear reflective clothing and take a good torch with you.

“Make sure you tell someone where you are going and what time they should expect you back and take a means of communication with you - but be aware that mobile phone coverage is patchy near cliffs.

“Also consider whether you need to wear a lifejacket – for example if you are fishing from rocks near the sea at night.”

Police are now investigating how the vehicle came over the cliff and anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to contact them on 101, quoting reference 67 of 13/06/16.