Two more deaths were reported early Saturday after a steep slope over a popular beach collapsed in Southern California on Friday afternoon.
A woman was declared dead at the crime scene in Grandview Beach, Encinitas, north of San Diego. However, in a Twitter message, it was announced shortly after midnight that two of the three injured who had been taken to the local hospitals had also died.
The authorities identified the victims only to say they were adults, the San Diego Union Tribune reported]
Jim Pepperdine, a local resident, told the newspaper he was alarmed when he heard sirens and trucks rumbling in the area.
"I saw first responders and saw lifeguards feverishly dig people out of the rubble," he told Union-Tribune.
According to city officials, the bluff was lost around 3:00 pm. The beach is popular with locals and tourists.
The collapse has caught the victims in an earthen pile that is about 3 meters high at its highest point, according to Mike Stein, fire chief of Encinitas. Rescue teams brought service dogs to look for victims.
As a precaution city officials closed hundreds of meters of coastline around the scene of the accident.
Bluffs emasculate four to eight times a year in Southern California, but "none of that size," said Brian Ketterer, head of California State Parks' Southern Field Division.
"This is a naturally eroding coast," said Larry Giles, Encinitas lifeguard. "There's really no rhyme or reason, but that's what it does of course … That's what it does, and so, in fact, some beaches are actually made, and it actually has those mistakes."
"That's natural There's really no rhyme or reason, but that's exactly what it does of course."
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The suburbs north of San Diego have been struggling with rising water levels in the Pacific Ocean and putting pressure on the cliffs. Some cliffs are paved with concrete walls to prevent homes worth millions of dollars from falling into the sea.
Houses on the cliff are not endangered, Stein said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.