South East Wales

Woman, 23, dies in Llantwit Major beach rock fall

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Media captionA 23-year-old woman died after a rock fell on her head on a beach in south Wales

A 23-year-old woman has died after a rock fell on her head on a beach in south Wales.

Emergency services were called to the beach in Llantwit Major, Vale of Glamorgan, just before 17:30 BST on Thursday.

South Wales Police said the woman's body was found after she died in a "tragic accident".

Vale of Glamorgan council reminded people to take "great caution" when walking near cliffs in the area.

An ambulance service spokesman said the woman suffered fatal injuries when a rock fell on her head.

First Minister Carwyn Jones tweeted on Friday afternoon to say he was "saddened" to hear of the accident, adding: "My thoughts go out to the woman's family and friends."

Image copyright Twitter/@fmwales

Milford Haven Coastguard sent staff to assist police and the Wales Air Ambulance was also called out after the accident, but the woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

A police spokesman said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the woman's death.

A kitchen assistant at the nearby Beach Cafe said a friend of the woman was treated for shock following the incident.

"It was horrible. A lady was here with blood on her face. She was her friend. She was okay but she was in shock," she said.

Image copyright @LlantwitMajorEv/Twitter
Image caption A beach party planned for Friday has been cancelled

David Boon, deputy head of the British Geological Survey in Wales, said people should show caution when walking along the Vale of Glamorgan coastline.

The expert in landslide hazards said: "The cliffs are being continually eroded by the seas. Our key message is that our geology is rich and diverse and we want people to enjoy it, but they need to be cautious of high cliffs and overhanging rock.

"We would say to people 'don't walk under steep high cliffs, particularly in areas where rocks have come down, don't stand, sit or stray too close to the edge.'"

There are numerous signs along the beach warning about the danger of falling rocks.

But former coast warden Steve George said some visitors unfamiliar with the area often pass under the cliffs "completely and utterly unaware of the danger they are in".

A Vale of Glamorgan Council spokesman said: "The sections of the coastline which are managed by the Vale of Glamorgan Council are inspected annually to assess the continuing effects of coastal erosion.

"However, the geology of this part of the coast means that rock falls do occur and cannot be prevented."

Council workers and the police will inspect the area of the rock fall on Friday.

Image caption David Boon said people should be particularly wary of areas where there has been evidence of recent rock fall

Elenid Carlig, landlady at the Old White Hart pub in the town, said: "The heritage coast is hugely popular with ramblers and dog walkers... it's just so sad."

The mayor of Llantwit Major, Patricia Lancaster, said: "My heartfelt sympathies go to the family. Words are of no avail, it's a terrible tragic incident.

"It's a Jurassic coastline and that's why they put notices warning of rock falls."

People walking at the beach on Friday said they regularly warn visitors to stay away from the cliffs because they are dangerous.

Alice Simons-Denville, 23, was camping nearby and saw one woman in "hysterical tears" after the incident.