Malta: Game of Thrones sea arch collapses in storm
Malta's iconic 'Azure Window' has collapsed following a storm.
The world-famous sea arch, which featured in Game of Thrones, is reported to have collapsed into the sea at around 9.40am this morning.
The news was described as "heartbreaking" by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in a tweet sent shortly afterwards.
"Reports commissioned over the years indicated that this landmark would be hard hit by unavoidable natural corrosion," he said.
"That sad day arrived."
Locals were streaming to the see the sight for themselves this morning, according to a report in the Times of Malta. The police have since issued a Facebook appeal advising people to avoid the area, it adds.
The 50m Azure Window, located near Dwejra Bay in Gozo, was one of the Maltese Islands' most distinctive sites, attracting thousands of tourists every year.
Its fame grew thanks to HBO's Game Of Thrones, where it served as backdrop for the wedding between Khal Drogo and Daenerys Targaryen.
- Read More: Game of Thrones: The Ultimate Travel Guide
In recent years, however, concerns about the landmark's condition had grown - with access forbidden due to falling rocks.
A three-month geological study published in 2013 concluded that erosion was inevitable at the site, and today, photos appear to show that both the arch and its supporting stacks have been wiped off the map completely.
“We are deeply saddened to lose such a magnificent landmark," says Peter Vella, Director of the Malta Tourism Authority for the UK and Ireland.
"The Azure Window was a spectacular site and a natural wonder. Although this is a very sad day for Malta & Gozo, Dwejra still has other great sites for tourists, such as the inland sea and the Fungus Rock.”