Dorset cliff landslide: Tribute to Charlotte Blackman
- 26 July 2012
- From the section Dorset
Tributes have been paid to a 22-year-old woman who died after being buried under hundreds of tonnes of rocks following a landslip on a Dorset beach.
Charlotte Blackman, of Derbyshire, was walking on Hive Beach near Freshwater Beach Holiday Park at Bridport when the rocks came down on Tuesday.
Her uncle Douglas Blackman described her as a "lively, fun-loving woman".
Ms Blackman, her boyfriend and her father were all buried when the 160ft (49m) high cliff above them collapsed.
The men were pulled free by bystanders but they could not locate Ms Blackman.
Her body was found by emergency workers at 21:40 BST within the 33ft (10m) high pile of fallen rocks.
Witnesses at the beach said Ms Blackman, from Heanor, had been seen walking directly under the cliff.
Mr Blackman said: "I don't have many words at the moment, to be honest. I found out last night at about 11pm.
"She was on holiday with her whole family, her mum Rachel, dad Kevin, sister Sinead, little brother Mitchell, and boyfriend Matt.
"My brother and her boyfriend and her little brother were there when it happened. I understand the boyfriend got her little brother away into the sea to get him from it.
"She was a lively, fun-loving woman, who had her whole life in front of her."
Search crews used sniffer dogs and specialist listening devices to try to find Ms Blackman amid fears of further rock falls at the site.
Three coastguard teams, helicopters, police, firefighters, ambulance and lifeboat crews took part.
The search was called off once her body was found as there were no further reports of missing people, police said.
A spokesman added: "It is believed the incident was a tragic accident and our thoughts are with the family of the victim at this very difficult time."
The inquest into Ms Blackman's death was opened and adjourned at County Hall in Dorchester earlier.
The beach forms part of the historic Jurassic Coast - from Swanage in Dorset to Exmouth in Devon - sections of which have been crumbling into the sea for years.
Last week, Dorset Council issued a warning to visitors and walkers of the risk of landslips following persistent heavy rain.
Mick Stead, of Dorset Fire and Rescue, estimated 400 tonnes of rock had fallen in the "significant collapse" covering an area of 20m between Freshwater and Burton Bradstock.
He said the recent weather was the likely trigger for the landslide at the beach.
Witnesses reported seeing part of the cliff fall onto the beach, and then some minutes later more rocks fall on top of the mound.
Eyewitness Liz Rice said: "We just saw a huge cloud of yellow dust from the cliff.
"Clearly some of the cliff had fallen on to the beach and within 20 minutes the emergency services had arrived."
The incident comes two weeks after Somerset couple Rosemary Snell and Michael Rolfe were killed in a landslide, nine miles away at the Beaminster Tunnel.