West Lulworth

a Registered One-Place Study and part of the Dorset OPC network

News - 2009

Bournemouth Daily Echo - Tuesday 22 September 2009

Nine-year-old boy who was buried by rocks at Lulworth Cove is discharged

By Steven Smith

THE nine-year-old boy thought to have been seriously injured when he was buried under rocks was discharged from hospital yesterday, Coastguards said.

He was completely covered by the falling rubble on Sunday as he played in the late summer sun at Lulworth Cove.

Initially it was thought that the child had serious spinal injuries, but yesterday he was discharged from hospital, a Coastguard spokesman confirmed.

He said: “It’s all round good news, if you consider the situation. It’s an unpredictable event of being in the wrong place at the wrong time; it had a very successful outcome.”

The child was thought to have been lying down at the time the rocks fell from 10ft above and shocked onlookers, including the boy’s father, raced to free the child from the rubble, which also struck an 11-year-old girl.

When Coastguards arrived, the child had already been freed from under the rocks and was airlifted to Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester, while the girl was taken via ambulance. She was released the same day.

The incident happened on the eastern side of the cove at Black Rock. Coastguards said that cliff falls do not happen often at the cove, the last one being earlier this year, but nobody was nearby at the time.

Yesterday Lulworth Estate staff were at the cove assessing the scene. A spokesman said rock falls and land slips were rare, but warning signs were put up around coastal areas.

Patrick Durnford, assistant to the Lulworth Estate general manager, said: “It is not known what may have triggered this particular slip, although this is being looked into. The incident is regrettable and we do hope that visitors will not be discouraged from enjoying the stunning and unspoilt coast around Lulworth Cove.

“The estate is relieved to hear that both the children, particularly the boy, who was more seriously injured, are making a good recovery and our thoughts remain very much with them and their family.”

Bournemouth Daily Echo - Tuesday 22 September 2009

Lulworth Cove rescue pair praise lifeboat crew

By Arron Hendy

THE crew of a motor cruiser that was battered by rough seas and grounded in Lulworth Cove have described their ordeal.

Dave Millar and his disabled sailing buddy Phil Saunders anchored the 45ft Avalon for the night after leaving Cowes and expected to be safe in the sheltered cove. But the two sailors were woken up in the night as the boat was swept on to the rocks and it started to take on water from high waves.

Mr Saunders, 60, uses a wheelchair due to an industrial accident but is able to walk slowly and is a former winter paralympian.

He said: “Had the lifeboat not come so quickly it would have been different.

“When I first heard a clunk we were still central to the opening of the cove so I could see we had not moved either way but I didn’t know we were going backwards. We went up on deck and we were only six or seven feet from the beach and rocks were scraping the bottom of the boat.

“We tried to get off the rocks using the propeller but we could not get away. By this time we were on an outcrop of rocks.”

The two sailors from Chesterfield said they had lots of fuel to make it to another port but needed to call the lifeboat out as they were grounded.

Mr Millar, 60, said: “At 3am the anchor alarm started bleeping and we found we were alongside the beach on a shelf.

“We tried to get off using a propeller but we were sat up on a bit of rock so we had to call the coastguard.

“Outside the cove the water was horrendous and we could see and hear the massive waves.”

Lulworth Coastguard rescue officers reported 40mph gale force winds hampering their rescue.

Mr Millar added: “It was frightening because according to the South Coast Cruising Guide yachts can be rolled over in there.

“We knew that was possible in south westerly gales but they were westerly.

“It was quite worrying and that was why we made the call.”

A coastguard spokesman said it was feared that the boat could become beached. A portable pump was used on board and two members of the lifeboat crew stayed on the Avalon with the two men. It was towed to Portland Marina for repairs.

The sailors thanked their rescuers and Mr Millar added: “They were top notch.

“They were not just good – those guys were electric.

“And the two who came aboard were buzzing around checking everything.”


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