Cliff collapses at a Southern California beach, killing 3 people

Officials say natural erosion made the cliff unstable.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Molly Hunter and Ronnie Koenig

Three people are dead and more are injured after a cliff collapsed on Friday at a popular surfer beach north of San Diego.

A 30-foot long slab of the cliff toppled down onto the sand near Grandview Beach. Warning signs are posted nearby about unstable bluffs, which sometimes come down due to natural erosion according to NBC San Diego.

As of Saturday morning, three people have died from the natural disaster. One woman was declared dead at the scene and four more were taken to an area hospital.

"It has now been confirmed that two of the three victims that were transported to local area hospitals earlier today have succumbed to their injuries. This brings the total fatalities from this incident to three," a statement from the city posted on Facebook reads.

The collapse occurred at around 3 p.m. when the beach was full of people. First responders were called to the scene of the collapse, which happened near a lifeguard tower. Both responders and beachgoers scrambled to find victims who may have been buried under the rubble and debris. K-9 units were also called in to help search for potential victims and the beach was closed off as officials feared a second collapse.

The city recommends beachgoers stay away and avoid areas under bluffs.

Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear released a statement on Friday, saying, "We are devastated by the tragedy today and our hearts go out to the victims and their families. We stand ready to help in any way possible. Our engineers and the public safety team are diligently working to assess bluff conditions."