Deadly bluff collapse area still ‘active’ as beach partially reopens

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ENCINITAS, Calif. -- The beach where a bluff collapse killed three people in Encinitas Friday will reopen sometime Saturday, but the beach immediately surrounding the collapse site will remain closed as geologists warn the area is still "active."

The cliff failure happened around 3 p.m. at Grandview Surf Beach in the Leucadia neighborhood of Encinitas. Rescue crews pulled five people out of the rocks and soil after it came crashing down on afternoon beachgoers. One of the them, a woman, was pronounced dead at the scene. Two others died from their injuries at the hospital, the City of Encinitas said. Identities were not immediately released.

Encinitas Fire Department officials held a news conference Saturday morning to share the department's approach to the beach on a busy summer weekend:

The shore would reopen sometime Saturday after lifeguards had a chance to post more signs and caution tape clearly marking the area immediately to the left and right of the collapse, which will remain closed to the public. Geotechnical soil engineers believe it was an "isolated erosion incident," but will continue to study the collapse site and consider it "active," meaning more of the bluff within the closed area could still fall.

EFD said an additional lifeguard was scheduled to stay on the beach throughout the day and watch the bluffs while keeping people out of the closed section of beach.

Encinitas Lifeguard Capt. Larry Giles said the city's "beautiful beaches (are) naturally eroding."

"Our hearts go out to the family and friends who were involved in this incident," Giles added. “Please help us out: Keep out of that active area, it’s well-posted.”

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