'Idiotic' beachgoers ignore danger sign to sunbathe under killer cliff

‘Idiotic’ beachgoers ignore danger signs to sunbathe at foot of cliffs at spot where nine-year-old girl was killed by falling rock

  • The family was pictured at Staithes Beach in Saltburn-by-the-sea, North Yorks 
  • It was the scene where Harriet Forster, nine, died after being hit by a falling rock 

An ‘idiotic’ family of beachgoers has been blasted after ignoring a warning sign to sunbathe at the foot of a deadly cliff where a child was killed by a falling boulder. 

Kerry Kidd was horrified to see the group of five sitting under the cliffs at Staithes Beach in Saltburn-by-the-sea, North Yorkshire, on Sunday.

The shocking photograph shows the family and their dog sitting in deckchairs, surrounded by buckets and spades, underneath a sign saying: ‘BEWARE DANGEROUS CLIFFS’.

It is the same location where a Harriet Forster was killed in a ‘freak accident’ after being struck by a falling rock in August 2018.

The nine-year-old spent the day rock pooling and fossil hunting when a large boulder fell 200ft from the cliff face above her and landed on top of the helpless schoolgirl.

The family and their dog sitting in deckchairs, surrounded by buckets and spades, underneath a sign saying: ‘BEWARE DANGEROUS CLIFFS’ on Sunday 

It was the same location where Harriet Forster, nine, was killed in a ‘freak accident’ after being struck by a falling rock in August 2018. Harriet is pictured

Her mother Holly of Bicester, Oxfordshire, screamed ‘big rock, big rock!’ as she hurtled towards her little girl.

Despite ‘heroic’ efforts from other beach-goers to revive her, Harriet died lying on the sand after suffering traumatic head and abdominal injuries.

Kerry Kidd, who was dolphin spotting with her husband Graham, 55, was horrified when she spotted the family-of-five sunbathing at the scene of Harriet’s death.

The 50-year-old didn’t approach the group for fear of being shouted at – something she has experienced before when trying to warn people about the cliff’s dangers.

Instead she uploaded the images to Facebook to raise awareness of the eroding coastline and the risks of using the cliffs to escape the sun.

The photo shocked people on social media, who branded the family actions as ‘stupid’ and ‘idiotic’. 

Kerry, from Fylingthorpe, North Yorkshire, said: ‘They probably looked at that sign and thought “I’m not going rock climbing” [so didn’t think it referred to them] or perhaps they didn’t even notice it.

‘It’s just in the back of my mind that a little girl died on this beach when a rock fell.

There had been 55,000 rock falls involving 3,000 tonnes of rubble in the area between 2016 and 2018. But Scarborough Borough Council had only put one small sign up (pictured) – which Holly nor Harriet saw

‘I know it was a freak accident but it could happen to anyone. We are aware of the dangers of the cliffs but lots of people aren’t.’

Kerry added she constantly sees people using the cliffs for shade, and warned ‘one small rock’ could kill you instantly.  

READ MORE: ‘Big rock, big rock!’ Mother tells how she cried out before boulder killed her nine-year-old daughter in horrific beach rockfall as coroner calls for better warning signs

‘They think it won’t happen to them but that little girl and family didn’t think it would happen to them but it did,’ she added. 

‘The cliffs are changing on a daily basis and if you’re taking shade on the beach under them and if a rock falls, there is no getting away from it. It happens so quick.’

Kerry said she sees and hears rocks falling from the cliffs on her walks all the time along the North Yorkshire coastline and warns how ‘one small rock could instantly kill you’.

The director of a second-hand clothing business said beaches should have more signposting to highlight the dangers of eroding cliffs on the coastline.

She added: ‘The signs that they have up might not be clear enough for people that are not from the area, so maybe we need more signs and clearer signs.

‘Maybe there should be plaques up to mark people that have died [in this way] in the area as a warning sign and maybe there should be more warning signs in general.

‘If you are underneath a landslide you are not escaping, it comes that quick.

‘It only takes one of these rocks to fall and you’re gone.’

Facebook users were quick to call out the family’s unobservant behaviour.

One user commented: ‘Why are there stupid people around. I can remember the tragic accident only too well.

‘Do they think these important signs are to hang their hats on? It makes me so angry.’

Another furious Facebook user said: ‘It’s beyond stupid. They obviously have children with them just by seeing the buckets and spades.

‘Why oh why after the tragic loss of life to a little girl.

‘After all the rain we’ve had this spring these boulders and rocks could slip at any moment.’

Another third added: ‘You couldn’t make this up. Huge warning sign and they’re sitting right beneath it.’

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