Charlotte Blackman: Rain caused Dorset cliff landslide

Charlotte Blackman - Facebook picture
Image caption Charlotte Blackman, 22, was buried under rocks following a landslip

A landslide in Dorset which killed a woman on a beach was caused by heavy rain and coastal erosion exacerbating cliff fractures, experts have said.

Charlotte Blackman, 22, of Derbyshire, was killed on Hive Beach, in Burton Bradstock, on Tuesday.

She died after some 400 tonnes of rock fell covering an area of 20m.

The British Geological Survey (BGS) said rain had made a significant contribution to 13 similar incidents around the UK in the past month.

Dr Helen Reeves, from the BGS's Landslide Response Team, said: "For this time of year, there have been an unusually large number of landslide events."

The BGS said the grey-brown sandstone cliffs became weaker when wet.

Restrictions lifted

Ms Blackman, her boyfriend and her father were all buried when the 160ft (49m) high cliff above them collapsed.

The men were pulled free by bystanders but they could not locate Ms Blackman.

Her body was found by emergency workers within the 33ft (10m) high pile of fallen rocks.

Witnesses at the beach said Ms Blackman, from Heanor, had been seen walking directly under the cliff.

Restrictions on accessing the west Dorset coast were introduced on Tuesday after the death, but have now been lifted.

Dorset County Council has warned visitors to avoid the cliff backdrops and mudslides along the Jurassic Coast.

Miles Butler, Director for Environment at Dorset County Council, said: "If visitors are careful in those areas Dorset is a wonderful and interesting holiday location with a great deal to offer, and beautiful family friendly beaches."

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