Durdle Door: Four injured in 200ft cliff jump, prompting police to close packed beach

Helicopters land on sand as coastguard chief slates ‘absolute carnage’ of people failing to social-distance

Durdle Door: Four injured in 200ft cliff jump, prompting police to close packed beach

Four people have been seriously injured jumping off cliffs into the sea at a beach in Dorset.

Air ambulances landed at the scene at Durdle Door, after police said they had been called to two separate incidents.

Videos on social media showed people climbing and making the leap from the 200ft rocks in what was suspected to be “tombstoning”.

People were jumping from the iconic arch at the site, according to a post on Poole Police’s Facebook page.

Before the accidents, the beach was packed with sun-seekers despite coronavirus social-distancing rules.

Images posted by Purbeck Police show helicopters landing on the sand and crowds leaving the beach en masse as the area was evacuated.

Drew Parkinson, area commander of South Devon Coastguard, tweeted that people going to beaches were putting themselves, others and rescuers at risk, branding the scenes “absolute carnage”.

Coastguard crews and the RNLI helped to clear the area after police were called at around 3.45pm.

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.

The beach was crowded before the emergency as people flocked there despite social-distancing rules

“I am urging people to leave the area to enable emergency services to treat the injured people.”

Pictures taken earlier on Saturday showed the beach busy as the public were reminded to practise social distancing in the good weather following the relaxation of coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Scores of visitors leaving the beach were seen taking the same path, bunching up without distancing.

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