Durdle Door beach has been evacuated to allow two emergency service helicopters to rescue several people with serious injuries, who had jumped off the top of the arch at the cove into the sea.
Dorset Police says it was called at 3.43 pm on Saturday 30 May 2020 after beach-goers became concerned for the safety of people who were jumping off the iconic stone arch from a dangerous height of 60 metres.
A person at the top of the Durdle Door arch
People on the beach go to the aid of an injured person
At the scene, they discovered three people had sustained serious injuries, as they had hit the water and requested helicopter assistance to get them to hospital.
However the beach, privately-owned by the Lulworth Estate, was so crowded, there was nowhere to land the helicopters safely which included the coastguard rescue helicopter 175.
In a desperate attempt to allow the emergency rescues to take place, Purbeck Police, the ambulance service, the RNLI and the Lulworth Coastguard teams had to herd the beach-goers including babies and children together and then evacuate them up the steep steps from the cove to the car park.
Crowds were evacuated off the beach to allow the emergency helicopters to land
Despite warnings from all the emergency services and defying coronavirus social distancing measures, people have been flocking to this beauty spot and packing the beach. The RNLI and HM Coastguard have been warning for weeks of the dangers of not behaving responsibly at the beach.
Poole Police said:
“The arch of Durdle Door is approximately 200 feet in height. Hitting water from that height can be critical. This is further compounded by tides, currents and altering depth of the sea bed. It is not an appropriate location for this type of activity.”
Easing of lockdown “has to go slowly”
This also comes as England’s deputy chief medical officer, Prof Jonathan Van-Tam told the daily Downing Street news conference that the UK is “at a dangerous moment” and the easing of lockdown “has to go slowly”. He cautioned the public to be “sensible and proportionate with the freedom we have wanted to give people” and added “don’t tear the pants out of it.”
One of the rescue helicopters lands on the beach to help the injured people
Chief Inspector Claire Phillips, of Dorset Police, said:
“We have had to close the beach at Durdle Door to allow air ambulances to land. As a result, we are evacuating the beach and the surrounding cliff area.
“I am urging people to leave the area to enable emergency services to treat the injured people.”
Durdle Door and Lulworth are now closed to the public until further notice, so people are advised not to attempt to travel to Durdle Door or the Lulworth area.
The packed beach before the helicopters arrived