Woman killed by 200ft cliff fall after landslide

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The Independent Online

A woman died and a man believed to be her husband was seriously injured when a landslide swept them and their car over a 200ft cliff in North Wales yesterday morning.

A woman died and a man believed to be her husband was seriously injured when a landslide swept them and their car over a 200ft cliff in North Wales yesterday morning.

Two successive waves of debris caused them to plunge down the cliff face beside a narrow coastal road on the Lleyn peninsular.

After the first slip, which took the couple's car right to the edge of the precipice, the woman managed to hand the couple's pet dog out of the car window to a passer-by before being swept to her death.

A second car also plunged down the cliff face to the Nefyn beach at the Lon y Traeth beauty spot on the remote peninsula in Gwynedd. Three other vehicles were left sticking out of the mud after the cliff, which had already subsided slightly over Christmas after weeks of rain, frost and rough seas below, finally gave way.

The dead woman's body was recovered from the car by a lifeboat crew on the beach but she was declared dead at the lifeboat base in nearby Porth Dinllaen.

The injured man was freed from the vehicle by fire brigade and coastguard crews and flown by RAF helicopter to Ysbyty Gwynedd Hospital, Bangor, with serious injuries. The other cars were unoccupied.

In the face of an incoming tide and several other land slips yesterday afternoon, sniffer dogs and rescue teams with thermal imaging equipment worked through the banks of mud and clay which had travelled down the 70 degree slope to ensure no other casualties had been buried alive.

"Our biggest problem was the incoming tide. There were also further landslides and we had to withdraw at one time," said station officer Edward Shaw of the North Wales Fire Service.

The cars were in a car park viewing point 75ft above the Nefyn beach, accessed via a track from the cliff summit, when the landslip occurred just above them at shortly after 11.30am.

A council spokeswoman said: "All the coast in that particular area is clay and sand so you can imagine the effect of tremendous rain over the last few months."

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