ENCINITAS – A group of beachgoers was injured today, one fatally, when a multi-ton section of sea bluff collapsed onto them on a stretch of ocean shoreline near Batiquitos Lagoon.
The cliff failure took place shortly before 3 p.m. at Grandview Surf Beach in the Leucadia neighborhood of Encinitas, just north of a lifeguard station that was staffed at the time, according to city officials.
Emergency personnel pulled five people out of the resulting mound of rock and soil, Encinitas Fire Chief Mike Stein told reporters.
One of the victims, a woman, was pronounced dead at the scene. Three others were taken to hospitals, two in critical condition and one with minor trauma, Stein said.
One other was treated at the scene for superficial injuries. All of the victims were adults, sheriff’s Lt. Amber Baggs said.
Authorities brought in a service-dog team to search for anyone else who might have wound up buried under the approximately 25- by 30-foot earthen pile, which was about 10 feet tall at its highest point, Stein said.
The collapse was believed to have sent 15 to 20 cubic yards of material onto the beach, the fire chief added.
One cubic yard of dirt can vary in weight from roughly 2,000 to 2,700 pounds, according to the online encyclopedia Reference.com.
As a public-safety precaution, the city closed the shoreline from Ponto Beach on the north to several hundred yards south of the accident site near the foot of Grandview Street.
“We do have concerns,” lifeguard Capt. Larry Giles told news crews. “There is an area in there (where the cliff remains) unstable.”
Photo Caption: A Solana Beach firefighter walks at the scene of a bluff collapse at Grandview Surf Beach on Aug. 2. One adult was killed in the collapse while four others were injured. Photo by Abraham Jewett