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Staithes rock fall death: "Scarborough Borough Council is not responsible for cliff safety"

Emergency vehicles at the scene. Picture by Barbara Govan
Emergency vehicles at the scene. Picture by Barbara Govan

Scarborough Borough Council have released a statement following the death of nine-year-old who was killed following a rock fall in Staithes.

Harriet Emily Nicola Forster, from Oxford, was tragically killed following a rock fall incident at Seaton Garth at around 4.47pm on Wednesday August 8.

Despite the best efforts of the emergency services, including the ambulance, air ambulance, fire and rescue, police, the coastguard and the RNLI, she was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.

A spokesperson from Scarborough council, said: “Our main priority has been to support those affected by this deeply upsetting event. An incident support team has been on the ground in Staithes offering advice and guidance to residents and visitors, and local councillors have been actively supporting their local community.

“Of course, our thoughts and prayers very much remain with the family of the nine-year-old girl who so tragically lost her life and those who tried to save her.

“Although Scarborough Borough Council is not responsible for cliff safety in this particular area as we are not the landowner, we care about the safety and wellbeing of residents and visitors.

“Whilst there are no plans at present to close off the area, visitors to our seaside should always be aware of the inherent natural risks associated with the geology of our cliffs and coastline and take the necessary precautions, which include not going too close to the edge or standing directly under cliffs.

“Landslides and rockfalls are not uncommon along our stretch of coastline but most of the time they go completely unnoticed. People should continue to enjoy our stunning cliffs and beaches but heed the prominent warning signs that are in place in those areas we know are prone to cliff movement, including the ones in Staithes.

“We are not in a position to comment on the specific circumstances surrounding the death of the little girl on Wednesday, but we will provide any relevant information to the police and coroner should it be needed.”