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Bluff collapses onto beach in Del Mar

Rescue dogs were brought to the area and, fortunately, they didn’t detect that anyone was trapped underneath.

DEL MAR, Calif. — Another bluff collapsed Sunday in Del Mar about a half of mile from Carmel Valley Road. Fortunately, no one was reported injured. This is not something unusual in a coastal area, but it is a reminder of just how dangerous walking along the coast can be.

There weren’t very many people on the beach Sunday morning but state park officials still followed their normal procedures to be sure everyone was safe.

Some say the San Diego coastline is one of the most beautiful in the country but experts like Dr. Pat Abbott, a geologist, says mother nature can also make walking along those beach cliffs dangerous.

“That’s just old sand, old muds, that are compacted together. Now the sea waves have cut away at it and made a steep cliff. The waves still hit on it, gravity pulls on it, rainwater, irrigation water flows through it. It’s bound to fail,” Abbott said. 

On Sunday, State Park officials say part of this bluff collapsed just after 10 a.m. in Del Mar. Rescue dogs were brought to the area and fortunately, they didn’t detect that anyone was trapped underneath.

“We were just walking along and all of sudden we noticed that huge wall of dirt. We realized that’s where that concrete wall used to be,” said Joanna Schwend, who was walking on the beach. 

On New Year’s Eve last year, a bluff collapsed at Torrey Pines State Beach between the parking lot and Flat Rock but no one was injured. However, back in 2019, three women, Julie Davis, her daughter Annie and her sister Elizabeth, were all killed when a bluff collapsed above them.

“When you go for those beach walks do not walk along the cliffs. Walk as close to the water line as you can because had people been caught under that, we’d be looking at fatalities now,” Abbott said. 

Dr. Abbott said this is just a good time to remember that when you’re on the beach to be aware of your surroundings because these bluffs can collapse at any time.

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