Page last updated at 13:26 GMT, Monday, 22 February 2010

Oddicombe Beach closed by 5,000-tonne rock fall

Oddicombe beach
Secondary rockfalls have led to the beach being shut for several days

People are being urged to avoid a beach in Torbay, Devon, following a 5,000-tonne rock fall.

The landslide happened at Oddicombe Beach on Sunday night in an area which has been cordoned off since 2002 because of the cliffs' instability.

Torbay Council said it was the second time in eight years there had been a major rock fall in the area.

The whole of Oddicombe Beach will be shut for several days as a result of secondary rock falls still happening.

A massive search and rescue operation was carried out on Sunday night after a passerby alerted the emergency services.

Cliffs 'unstable'

Brixham coastguards co-ordinated the operation at about 2230 GMT to ensure no-one was trapped.

Police, fire and lifeboat crews were called out and a coastguard rescue team and RMB Chivenor helicopter was scrambled.

Thermal imaging cameras were used to see if anyone was trapped in the landslide but no-one was detected.

A Torbay Council spokeswoman said: "The 5000-tonne rock fall was from the unstable sandstone cliffs to the rear of the north beach, and has covered a large section of the previously-closed foreshore.

"This area of beach has been closed off since 2002 when the degree of cliff instability was first identified.

"This is the second major rock fall since this time, reinforcing the decision to close this section of the beach."

She said the whole beach should be avoided until further notice because secondary rock falls were still occurring.

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