Rockfall destroys access to Lagos’ Praia do Pinhão

Rockfall destroys access to Lagos’ Praia do Pinhão

People continued to visit the beach despite the “high risk”

Praia do Pinhão in Lagos has been left inaccessible by a rockfall which destroyed the stone stairs to the beach in the early hours of Saturday morning (January 13).

A second rockfall was also registered on Monday afternoon (January 15) and more could follow due to this week’s rainy weather.

 

No one was hurt in either incident, but the imminent danger posed by two rockfalls and potential future ones has led authorities to forbid access to the area. Anyone who ignores the signposting can face fines ranging from €30 to €300.

Authorities had already been aware of the risk of rockfalls in the area for over one year, Lagos Port Captain and Commander of Lagos Maritime Police, Hugo da Guia, told us.

This is not unexpected because it was already considered a risk area and that is why access to it was limited. The danger areas are classified as off-limit areas and this one was already flagged as such,” he explained.

While people continued to visit the beach despite the “high risk”, authorities have found no indication of anyone having been at the beach at the time. There were also no vehicles nearby nor any reports of an incident, the local port captain said.

Portugal’s Environment Agency (APA), the entity in charge of monitoring cliffs, is now evaluating the need for an intervention at the affected beach, which was visited by the Mayor of Lagos, Hugo Pereira, the Commander of the Volunteer Firefighters of Lagos and Municipal Coordinator of Civil Protection, Márcio Regino, and the Port Captain and Local Commander of the Maritime Police of Lagos, Hugo da Guia, on Monday afternoon.

 

Rockfall destroys access to Lagos’ Praia do Pinhão

At the moment, a wooden boardwalk is being built at the site which will provide a new access route to the beach, replacing the stone stairs which have been destroyed by the rockfall.

The Municipal Council of Lagos has clarified that the strategy is to “create safer circulation alternatives with a reduced visual impact on the territory.

“For this reason, the second phase of the Improvement and Redevelopment Works of Ponta da Piedade – which is nearly concluded – which extends between the Ponta da Piedade Lighthouse and Praia do Pinhão, includes the extension of boardwalks. This will allow the diversion of a significant portion of pedestrian traffic away from the more sensitive coastal areas,” the council added.

 

Rockfall destroys access to Lagos’ Praia do Pinhão

In the municipality of Lagos, there are five beaches with cliffs that are considered by APA to be prone to rockfalls: Batata, Camilo, Dona Ana, Porto de Mós and Pinhão. Thus, authorities are calling on the population to respect the warning signposts that can be found at the beaches.

“Big efforts are made to place the correct signposts at these locations which are not respected. In these cases, all this work is in vain, and people’s lives are put into real danger,” Hugo da Guia, Commander of the Maritime Police of Lagos, warned.

 

Rockfall destroys access to Lagos’ Praia do Pinhão

Rockfalls can occur due to several factors, such as the influence of weather, the wearing down of cliffs, as well as the impact of human presence, vegetation, vibration, earthquakes and more.

TEXT and PHOTOS: BEATRIZ MAIO

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