SAN DIEGO — Fears have been growing after chilling video of a bluff collapse in Torrey Pines on New Year's Eve left many scared. Cell phone video shows the start of the cliff coming down before beachgoers started to scream and run.
“In the back of my mind, it is always there, you never can tell when one of those things is going to collapse and fall, basically, it's gravity, and gravity never quits,” said Dr. Pat Abbott, Geologist.
Geologist Dr. Pat Abbott spoke of what to look out for when out at the cliffs. He says there's always a loud sound right before a huge chunk drops, and it sometimes sounds like the pop of a gunshot.
"It usually has a noise to it, a crack to let you know the rock is there, it's been solid and has cracked or snapped and broken loose, and if you hear that noise head for the water or look up."
And we know it's definitely not the first time, San Diegans have seen a dangerous bluff collapse. There have been numerous incidents in Encinitas, Carlsbad, Solana Beach, Del Mar, and La Jolla over the years.
The deadly Encinitas bluff collapse in August 2019 took the lives of three women of one family at Grandview Beach when a roughly 30-foot-wide chunk of the cliff dropped down. Dr. Abbott says bluff collapses are more common in very rainy years, so to have a cliff falling now is happening an unlikely time.
“Here is a time where we haven't had much rain. The weather is warm, it is one of the times where you would least expect something to go, but again gravity never stops,” Dr. Abbott said.
Just one day before this Torrey Pines collapse, a picture shows a group of people standing in that very spot taking a picture by the "Danger" sign that warns against falling rocks. Still, crowds came to Torrey Pines Saturday enjoying a hike at the beach. One family from Chula Vista was worried.
"When we do come out that is always a concern on my mind, so I do try to stay away from the cliffs, today, we actually did it because the tide is high so we came around the back way," said Hilda Hoffman of Chula Vista, who hiked Torrey Pines with family.
Torrey Pines State Park rangers were out warning hikers of the recent bluff collapse.
"Be careful of your surroundings and just wherever you go,” said Sophia Hoffman, hiker at Torrey Pines. Although no one was injured, Dr. Abbott says be sure to keep your distance away from the bluff and walk closer to the water.