Field trip teens risk lives on 200-ft-high Sidmouth cliff edge - for a selfie

PUBLISHED: 11:53 22 September 2016 | UPDATED: 11:53 22 September 2016

Ref shs students on cliffs WEB. Picture: Sarah Mansell.

Ref shs students on cliffs WEB. Picture: Sarah Mansell.

Archant

‘All I could think running up the hill was ‘please let me get there before someone dies’,’ says horrified onlooker Sarah

Schoolchildren were caught on camera ‘risking their lives for a selfie’ on the edge of Sidmouth’s 200-ft-high crumbling cliffs.

Horrified onlooker Sarah Mansell alerted rescue crews after she spotted the daredevil teens - on a geography field trip to the Jurassic Coast - messing about just yards from where a landslide had occurred days before.

She raced up Salcombe Hill with Sidmouth Lifeboat senior coxswain Guy Russell to warn the youngsters of how dangerous the situation was, but said they ‘thought they knew better’.

“All I could think running up the hill was ‘please let me get there before someone dies’,” said Sarah. “They could have easily been killed. They were risking their lives to take selfies.

“The impression was they could do what they liked. They thought they knew better. Besides them dying, it would have been an awful thing for people to see. They were teenagers. I have a nine-year-old and he would never do that.”

Sarah said it took 40 minutes to contact anyone from the teenagers’ school, Exeter’s Isca Academy.

Guy said: “While at the boathouse I was alerted by a member of the public to some teenagers playing on the cliff edge.

“My immediate action was to drive up to the coast path and remove the teenagers to safety. The incident was resolved quickly and all were safe and educated to the dangers of the cliffs.

“The coast warning signs must be respected – fences are in place for a reason. Please take note of warning signs and in any coastal emergency dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

Isca Academy headteacher Aimee Mitchell has launched an investigation into the incident. She said: “This was a geography field trip to the Jurassic Coast for a class of students who were supervised by three members of staff.

“During the course of the trip, four students climbed over a fence near the edge of the cliff to take pictures and put themselves at risk. I have spoken to their parents and to the lady who alerted us and I will be reviewing all our procedures for future school trips.”

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