A visit to Torrey Pines State Beach in La Jolla, California turned tragically fatal yesterday as a collapse in the cliff side led to the death of a 57-year-old beachgoer.
The man, who has yet to be publicly identified, died at Scripps Memorial Hospital – La Jolla, after blunt trauma was induced by falling boulders at 1 PM yesterday afternoon.
“He’d gone to the foot of the cliff to take off his shoes, and a small section of the bluffs just gave way and came down,” said Maurice Luque of the Sand Diego Fire Rescue Department to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
As a preventative measure, the surrounding area has been temporarily closed.
“The Cliffs of Black Beach and Torrey Pines Beach are unstable landforms…in Southern California we typically have a lot of failures,” says Damon Deyoung, a Marine Geologist at San Diego State. “We have failures ever year - usually they happen when there is no one around - or when people are walking by that are very small…some are much less dramatic than others.”
So each time surfers descend the danger sign-spiked goat trail that leads from Torrey Pines Glider Port to the beach, there is a degree of risk involved, but exactly how risky is it?
“I’ve probably traveled down those paths over 200 times and I've never twisted an ankle or fallen,” says Deyoung. “I’ve never seen a landslide there, so is it going to be that trip number 201 will kill me? Chances are – probably not. But there’s always that possibility.”