Sunday 25 August 2019

Tourists warned against endangering lives by taking cliff-edge selfies

The Seven Sisters Cliffs
The Seven Sisters Cliffs

Thrill-seeking photographers are being warned not to risk their lives, after pictures emerged of tourists posing on a 500ft cliff edge near Brighton.

The photos, taken at the popular beauty spot of Seven Sisters on the south coast, show tourists sitting and standing at the very edge of the cliffs, sometimes on one leg.

The tourists, who are believed to be Korean, can be seen stretching their arms whilst dangling their legs over the precipice and waving to the camera.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency declined to comment on specific photographs, but stressed that "no selfie or photograph is worth risking your life for."

A spokesman said "We don't want to tell people off, but we do encourage people to not take these kinds of photos.

"When standing at the bottom of a cliff, we would always advise people that they shouldn't stand less than the height of the cliff away. That means that if the cliff is 25 metres high, don't go closer than 25 metres towards it.

"It's impossible to predict when the next piece might fall or how big it will be. Periods of intense rainfall will often make cliff edges more vulnerable.

"We've seen a number of cliff collapses around the coast in recent months. It's very clear that cliffs are very unstable in places. We really can't stress enough how important it is to keep back from the edge. There is no 'safe' place to be."

The photographs join a series of others over the past year which show people going recklessly close to the edge, despite repeated warnings about the fragility of the ground.

In August 2015 a group of six teenagers were spotted posing for selfies along the same stretch of coastline with their upper bodies or legs thrust out from the side of the rock.

Then in May this year, a 250ft chunk of the cliff face at Seven Sisters collapsed into the sea, retreating the cliff edge by as much as 10 metres.

Bob Jeffery, from Eastbourne Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), told the Telegraph: "You can see it is like a ledge and you can see where the cracks are forming. Once there are cracks it is only a matter time before it goes and if you happen to be on the edge at that moment you are not going to survive."

PA Media

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