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Girl, nine, dies in rock fall at Staithes

Floral tribute. Picture by Tony Bartholomew
Floral tribute. Picture by Tony Bartholomew

A community is in shock following the tragic death of a nine-year-old girl in Staithes.

Emergency services were called to reports of a rock fall in Seaton Garth on Wednesday afternoon.

Emergency vehicles at the scene. Picture by Barbara Govan

Emergency vehicles at the scene. Picture by Barbara Govan

The girl suffered serious head injuries during the incident but despite the paramedics’ best efforts, she later died at the scene.

It is believed that the youngster was on holiday with her family, playing on the beach, when rocks started to fall.

A spokesperson from North Yorkshire Police, said: “North Yorkshire Police were contacted Wednesday August 8 at 4.47pm to reports of a rock fall at Seaton Garth in Staithes, in which a nine-year-old girl had received serious head injuries.

“Sadly, despite the efforts of the emergency services, the girl died at the scene from her injuries.

“Her family are currently being supported by specialist trained officers.”

Firefighters, paramedics, the coastguard and the air ambulance were called to the scene.

Scarborough Council set up an emergency command post at the authority’s Town Hall to co-ordinate the emergency response, which involved coastguards, police, and air ambulances.

In a statement, the RNLI, which responded to the call, said: “Volunteer crew members of Staithes and Runswick Lifeboat Station responded to a rock fall at Seaton Garth in Staithes.

“The RNLI, and in particular the volunteers of Staithes and Runswick Lifeboat Station, would like to share their deepest condolences with the child’s family.”

A North East Air Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We were called yesterday at 16.18pm about a child who had sustained a serious head injury as a result of a rock slide at the South Pier at Staithes.

“We dispatched a number of resources, including four hazardous area response crews, an ambulance, a rapid response vehicle and an officer, and requested support from the Great North Air Ambulance Service.

“Our thoughts are with the family of the little girl involved in this incident and we would like to take this opportunity to praise our staff, and our partners, for their efforts in trying to save her.”

Tributes have poured out across social media and flowers have been left at the scene.

Comments on Twitter included: “The village is very solemn at the moment. My thoughts go out to everybody affected.”

Other messages of support have been left on Facebook, such as: “What horrible news, my heart breaks for everyone who knows the poor little girl and who witnessed such a tragic freak accident. Well done to the emergency services.”

Scarborough Borough Council Leader, Cllr Derek Bastiman, said: “Our thoughts are with the family of the nine-year-old girl who has lost her life in such tragic circumstances.

“Many of us are parents ourselves and it’s deeply upsetting when something like this happens.

“I would like to express my gratitude on behalf of the council to the emergency services for their response in what must have been a deeply harrowing situation.”

The youngster has not yet been formally identified, but police have confirmed that they will release further details in due course.