Staithes cliff fall: Girl, 9, dies as rocks fall on to beach

A nine-year-old girl died from serious head injuries when rocks fell from a cliff at a beach in North Yorkshire.

Eyewitnesses said the girl had been on holiday with her family when the accident happened at Seaton Garth in Staithes at 16:15 BST on Wednesday.

North Yorkshire Police said the child died at the scene and her family was being supported by specialist officers.

Onlookers described the fall, which they said was near warning signs about the cliff, as "particularly serious".

Image caption Part of the beach at Staithes has been cordoned off

Staithes Coastguard confirmed a section of the cliff had fallen.

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Part of the beach at the popular tourist resort has since been cordoned off.

Eyewitnesses said the beach had been particularly busy at the time and described seeing a "number of emergency vehicles", including fire engines, heading for the beach.

Image caption Warning signs are on the cliffs at Seaton Garth

North Yorkshire Police said: "Sadly, despite the efforts of the emergency services, the girl died at the scene from her injuries."

A statement from the RNLI said crew members of Staithes and Runswick Lifeboat Station "attended to a child who sadly died at the scene".

"The RNLI, and in particular the volunteers of Staithes and Runswick Lifeboat Station would like to share their deepest condolences with the child's family," the statement added.

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At the scene: BBC Radio Tees reporter Adam Clarkson

The only signs of yesterday's tragedy that remain are the police tape cordoning off the beach and the sombre feeling that has descended on the village.

Only a handful of people have made the walk to an unusually quiet Seaton Garth this morning.

Most spend a few minutes looking out to sea, then turn away.

From speaking to residents it is clear many are still reeling from the devastating news that something so awful could happen so close to home, at a place associated with fun and family.

Most people feel unable to put the shock into words at this time.

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