With 100′ high cliffs there are always cliff deaths and other tragic accidents that happen to holidaymakers and locals alike. In order to keep their memory alive, below is a list of those stories. It includes bodies found in the sea, those who fell from cliffs and a couple who still lived to tell the tale.
For cliff deaths before 2014, see: Cliff Deaths in Newquay pre-2014
It is not possible to list them all – as, often, having found a body there’s no further reporting of the matter in local newspapers. However, here are some of the unfortunate victims who passed away on Newquay cliffs, or suffered tragedies around the cliffs and beaches:
- 17 January. The human remains found at Tregurrian, near Watergate Bay, Newquay, last summer were formally identified as Darren Rhys Witcombe. Aged 45, Darren Witcombe lived at Newquay, but originally came from Wales and was last seen on 23 December 2015. Cause of death is still unknown. He had not been reported as a missing person.
- 4 February. A body was found at Treyarnon by a member of the public. On 6 February this was identified as Patrick Foster from Newquay – the death is not being treated as suspicious. Patrick Foster, aged 46, was resident in Newquay.
- 29 July. Early in the morning, the body of a man was found on Towan Beach, Newquay, by a walker. The victim could have had a medical episode, or could have fallen from the cliffs above (climbing up, or falling down). His shoes were dry, so the body wasn’t washed ashore. As you’re looking out to sea, the body was on the left hand side of Towan Beach. The body was later identified as father of two Adam Fenton, aged 32 of Newquay, who had just been given the all clear from cancer and was on his first night out with his friends; when he disappeared, they assumed he had had enough and gone home.
- 15 August. 27 year old Oneil Din, known as Kenny, on holiday from Coventry, was swept out to sea on a rip tide while swimming with friends at Crantock Beach, Newquay, at 7.30pm. With no lifeguards on the beach at that time of the evening, a few of the group managed to clamber onto rocks, but three were dragged out to sea; a rescue attempt was made for the group of three holidaymakers by local surfers – the coastguard and RNLI were called out. One died, the other two, aged 17 and 18, were taken to Treliske Hospital.
- 4 September. Two brothers were washed from rocks at Treyarnon Bay, 10 miles along the coast from Newquay, while fishing in the early afternoon. Sons of Anthony and Margaret Allen, the brothers have been identified as Charles Allen, aged 21, who was recovered within minutes of the alarm being raised, but later died in Hospital and Dr Robert Allen, aged 30, an associate at Bath University, whose body has not yet been found. The two brothers were experienced fishermen and were on a family holiday.
At 8am on 11 September a body was found on Constantine beach; believed to be Dr Allen, formal identification will need to be carried out.
- 5 August. A 42 year old angler, Jamie Ferguson, on holiday at Polly Joke, Crantock, with his family, failed to return to the campsite in the evening; a body was recovered from the water between Crantock Beach and Porth Joke (Polly Joke) Beach. Resuscitated at the point of rescue, he died later in Hospital. Jamie leaves a widow and two sons.
- 11 August. Human remains were found at the bottom of cliffs near Watergate Bay, the Tregurrian area – initially believed to possibly be the remains of Chad Gibson, a 32 year old man from St Austell, who went missing in Newquay in December 2015. It will be some time before the remains are forensically tested and results known.
UPDATE 18 January 2017: The remains found at the bottom of the cliffs were formally identified as missing man Darren Rhys Witcombe, aged 45. Originally from Wales, Darren Witcombe had lived in Newquay for some years and was last seen alive on 13 December 2015 when he visited a friend.
- 19 August. Three members of a family of 5 were swept from rocks on South Fistral Beach, Newquay – a large wave swept the mother, father and 2 year old into the water. The mother was saved by emergency services on a jetski and returned to her 2 surviving children on the beach; the father and 2 year old were picked up by the lifeboat and taken to Treliske Hospital, Truro. The father died overnight; the 2 year old was in critical condition, dying four days later.
The family were named as Mr Rudy Brunynius, (33) his wife Lisinda (37) and two year old daughter McKayla, of Morden, Surrey; their two boys, Tyrone (10) and Damien (6), scrambled their own way to safety. The family were originally from South Africa.
- September. A 75 year old holidaymaker from Minster-on-Sea, Kent was seen swimming, then floating in the water at Porth Beach. He was pulled from the sea and taken to Treliske, but died. This was a medical episode that he suffered when a big wave hit him. http://www.kentonline.co.uk/sheerness/news/kent-man-dies-after-being-103233/
- October. A body was found on Tolcarne Beach, identified a week later as a local man, Ray Brindle, originally from Blackburn. Aged 45, there were no suspicious circumstances.
- 1 July. A body found on Bedruthan Steps, near Newquay, was identified as 49 year old Laura Summers. It is believed she originated from Brighton, Sussex. She was found naked and 4x the drink driving limit. Her death and full identity remain a mystery. She had stayed at the Great Western Hotel the night before her body was found, but the police have no permanent address for her. She had been drinking and had some taken some medications, the autopsy ascertained she’d drowned.
- October – A local man died after falling from cliffs at Watergate Road onto Whipsiderry beach, Newquay at lunchtime. He was taken to Treliske Hospital, but declared dead. The death was not being treated as suspicious. The man was watched by onlookers as he threw himself off the cliff top. He was later named as Chris Charlton, aged 58, from St Columb Minor, Newquay. He left a widow and 3 children. Suicide.