Inquest to be held for nine-year-old girl who died in Staithes rock fall tragedy

An inquest is set to be opened into the death of a nine-year-old who was killed in a rock fall incident in Staithes in North Yorkshire.

Harriet Forster died in a rock fall incident in Staithes
Harriet Forster died in a rock fall incident in Staithes

Harriet Forster was tragically killed following a rock fall near the south pier at Seaton Garth at about 4.47pm on Wednesday, August 8 2018.

She was visiting Staithes from Oxford with her family when the incident occurred.

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Despite the efforts of the emergency services, including the Coastguard, the RNLI, ambulance, air ambulance, fire and rescue and the police, Harriet was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.

A flower left at the scene of the incident for Harriet Forster

Harriet’s family have said in a statement at the time: "We cannot comprehend the enormity of this tragedy. Harriet was the light of our lives. "

The inquest into Harriet's death will be held on Wednesday November 7 at the Town Hall, Scarborough, commencing at 10am.

North Yorkshire Police said at the time. "Sadly, despite the efforts of the emergency services, the girl died at the scene from her injuries.

"Her family are currently being supported by specialist trained officers."

People in the quiet village said they were shocked by what happened as the beach remained cordoned off on Thursday morning.

One man said: "We were just round there with our two yesterday, knocking on the cliffs for fossils.

"It doesn't bear thinking about. What an absolute tragedy."

Others talked about the huge emergency services response, including an air ambulance landing in the middle of the harbour beach.

A woman, who has had a house in the village for more than 30 years, said the beach was "teeming with people" on Wednesday afternoon.

"I was on there with my grandchildren and we left just before this happened," she said.

"It is absolutely terrible what's happened. Fortunately, we had walked the other way."

The woman, who did not wish to be named, said local people knew not to go too close to the cliffs as minor collapses were common.

But she added: "How do you tell everyone who comes? It's just not possible."

She said local people believe the recent weather had made the cliffs more unstable, especially with a long dry spell followed by heavy rain.

One cottage in the village has recently showed dramatic movement, with the home-owner having to leave through a window after hearing a loud crack.

The woman said the emergency services arrived very quickly, especially given the difficult access to the harbour down one narrow, cobbled street.

"They did a terrific job, all of them," she said.

The closed beach was empty on Thursday and nobody was around the area of the rock fall, which local people said was just on the eastern side of the harbour wall.

Another man, who did not want to be named, said: "I've never seen so many emergency services. And the speed they came down that cobbled hill. So sad, though."

Someone had a left a single sunflower by the cordoned-off steps down to the harbour beach - the closest accessible spot to where the incident is thought to have happened.