Man dies after 300ft cliff plunge

PUBLISHED: 17:28 19 April 2009 | UPDATED: 08:59 18 June 2010

A MAN plummeted 300ft to his death from a cliff near Beer after dangerously lowering himself down the side to pose for a picture. And minutes after the tragic accident, onlookers put their own lives at risk by standing perilously close to the edge of the

A MAN plummeted 300ft to his death from a cliff near Beer after dangerously lowering himself down the side to pose for a picture.

And minutes after the tragic accident, onlookers put their own lives at risk by standing perilously close to the edge of the cliff to watch the drama unfold.

Roger Hoare, auxiliary Beer Coastguard, said: "When we first reached the cliff it was unbelievable the amount of people who were standing on the edge trying to see what was going on. If it had given way there would have been a lot more fatalities."

Ten members of Beer Coastguard and The Coastguard Rescue helicopter were scrambled after traumatised tourists watched the 39-year-old Polish man tumble down the sheer cliff face, known locally as White Cliff, at about 2.45pm on Sunday.

But the man was found by paramedics who pronounced him dead at the scene.

Shocked bystanders, including a 12-year-old boy from Yorkshire, gave statements to the police and it is believed one of the witnesses said the man was pretending to fall at the time of the accident.

Mr Hoare described the incident as a 'tragedy'.

He said: "We believe the Polish man was in a group of three men and they decided to take a photograph on the cliff looking across to Seaton.

"One of them decided to lower themselves over the edge on a small foot hold and hold onto a bit of grass while he had his picture taken. Unfortunately the grass tuft gave way and he fell to his death.

"I just can't believe it. They could have taken the picture ten foot away from the edge and would have gotten the same view."

A police spokesman said the man's next of kin in Poland have yet to be informed.

The man is believed to be from Devon but not from the immediate area and it is thought he was on a day trip.

Martin White, owner of Durham House bed and breakfast in Beer, said locals were wary of the unfenced area where the man fell and described it as "precarious".

Following the tragedy coastguards are warning people to stay away from cliff edges

Maddy Davey, Portland Coastguard watch manager said: "Please do not stray away from cliff paths and do not go near the edges of cliffs. Often, despite appearances, they can be unstable and crumbly, as well as being slippery when wet.


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