Dicing with death: Moment two women risk their lives leaping into the air for photo on top of crumbling 400ft cliffs prone to massive rock falls

  • Two young women were seen risking their lives as they jumped on the cliff edge 
  • They stood on top of the 400ft cliff at Birling Gap near Eastbourne, East Sussex
  • Comes after crowds flocked to beauty spots across the UK over a sunny Easter 
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Shocking pictures show the moment two thrillseekers risked their lives while posing for a photo perilously close to the edge of a 400ft cliff. 

The two young women jumped for the snap only metres away from the drop at Birling Gap near Eastbourne, East Sussex, on Easter Sunday. 

Their actions blatantly ignored warnings from officials who urged people ahead of the weekend to consider their safety if visiting the beauty spot.  

The unstable chalk cliffs are known to collapse without warning as a result of coastal erosion.  

The two young women were seen jumping together extremely close to the edge of the 400ft cliff edge at Birling Gap near Eastbourne, East Sussex

The two young women were seen jumping together extremely close to the edge of the 400ft cliff edge at Birling Gap near Eastbourne, East Sussex

They were two of hundreds who flocked to the beauty spot over the sunny Easter weekend

They were two of hundreds who flocked to the beauty spot over the sunny Easter weekend

Millions enjoyed their newfound freedom in the good weather this week after coronavirus restrictions were partially lifted, allowing up to six people or two households of any size to meet outdoors. 

Many flocked to beauty spots this weekend including those who flocked to the Sussex coast to see the impressive chalk cliffs.

But despite their beauty, the crumbling cliffs pose a real danger to visitors.  

Ahead of the four-day Easter weekend, The National Trust warned visitors to ‘stay away from the edge of the cliff top’ and to adhere to ‘common sense safety advice’. 

East Sussex Council also put out a warning following a ‘significant’ cliff fall at Birling Gap.

A council spokesman especially warned walkers to be aware of rocks falling from the cliff faces and other dangers. 

A statement from the council said: ‘If you’re heading out for a coastal walk this weekend, stay away from cliff edges and bases.

‘There have been 50 cliff falls in the last year in East Sussex, where the chalk breaks away from the cliff and falls to the beach or sea below.’ 

Coastguards have also issued a warning over an ‘actively moving cliff’ at Seaford Head in the last few weeks.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency have previously said one of their ‘biggest problems’ is ‘tackling the “selfie culture” where people take risks to get a dramatic photograph of themselves on a dangerous cliff edge’.

The spokesperson said: ‘No selfie or photograph is worth risking your life for.

Officials have issued warnings over the safety of the chalk cliffs, which are prone to collapse, amid moe than 50 cliff falls in the past year

Officials have issued warnings over the safety of the chalk cliffs, which are prone to collapse, amid moe than 50 cliff falls in the past year

Another woman is seen posing for a life-risking selfie at the cliff top last weekend, dicing with death to get the perfect shot despite recent cliff falls

Another woman is seen posing for a life-risking selfie at the cliff top last weekend, dicing with death to get the perfect shot despite recent cliff falls

Campers set up camp immediately above a rockfall at the top of a perilous sandstone cliff at Burton Bradstock, Dorset, last weekend

Campers set up camp immediately above a rockfall at the top of a perilous sandstone cliff at Burton Bradstock, Dorset, last weekend

‘We want people to enjoy themselves on the coast by making sure their visit is one to remember and not one they’d rather forget.

‘It’s a well-known fact that the cliffs along the UK coastline are continually eroding, with pieces falling from them that can be just a few small rocks or as large as a car.

‘It’s impossible to predict when the next piece might fall or how big it will be.’

It comes only days after additonal reckless sightseers were pictured risking their lives by posing just inches away from the Sussex cliff-edge to take attention-grabbing selfies.

Last weekend hundreds were photographed at Birling Gap, near Eastbourne.

Many appeared completely unaware of the fragility of the cliffs, which have cracks extending beneath the turf as the base of the cliff erodes away. 

The same weekend a group of campers set up camp on the edge of a crumbling cliff in Burton Bradstock, Dorset.

The campers defied lockdown rules – which prohibit overnight stays away from home – and ignored warning signs and common sense to scale a safety fence and erect two tents just a few feet from the edge of the 150ft cliff. 

What causes cliffs to collapse?

Cliffs collapse for a range of reasons.

While the most common reason is weathering, there are other factors to consider, such as water crashing against the cliff face, what the cliff is made of, and the climate of the area.

For example, softer materials, such as clay are more likely to collapse than harder materials like granite.

Bad weather naturally erodes the foundations of a cliff, and can cause it to collapse.

Visitors sunbathe dangerously close on the cliffs at Birling Gap in Sussex, ignoring warnings of cliff falls

Visitors sunbathe dangerously close on the cliffs at Birling Gap in Sussex, ignoring warnings of cliff falls

One of the most common examples of weathering is when rain fall affects the composition of the cliff. As rain falls, it seeps into the permeable gravel and soil at the top of the cliff, adding weight to it.

At the same time, colder winter temperatures can cause the face of this cliff to freeze, as frozen areas weaken as they thaw. If a cliff is against a body of water, such as a sea or ocean, waves crashing on the cliff can also weaken it over time.

Cliffs can also collapse as the result of rock slides, when whole slabs of rock detach from an inclined face and collapse, or as a result of mud slides, when wet soil and weak rocks fall.

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