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Calls for 'skull and crossbones’ signs at killer Loe Bar after body found

By WBGraeme  |  Posted: January 02, 2014

  • The waves crash in at Loe Bar near Porthleven yesterday

  • The warning sign on Loe Bar, near Porthleven

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A FISHERMAN has said the deadly but beautiful beach at Loe Bar near Porthleven should have ‘skull and crossbones’ signs after a body was found nearby this morning.

It is suspected the remains discovered today are that of a missing holidaymaker, who was swept out to sea from the beauty spot after celebrating New Year’s Eve.

The body has not yet been formally identified.

However, fisherman John Coupland said it was well-known locally that the large waves, steeply sloping beach and undercurrent make Loe Bar a killer.

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“They say Loe Bar takes a soul every seven years,” he said.

“As a local fisherman I have seen how deadly this beach is. It is notorious for its massive unexpected shore dumps, and the pea gravel underfoot just caves in and sucks you under.

“Even in calm weather I have seen waves appear from nowhere and you can hear the suck of the ocean as it churns the gravel under the surface, there is no escape, not even for the strongest swimmer.

Although there is already a sign telling people not to swim, Mr Coupland said it should be made much clearer for visitors and tourists, given the latest tragedy.

“This beach should have skull and crossbones signs along it's full length,” he said.

“As locals we know the danger, but visitors have no idea.

“It may not look good for tourism, but for heavens sake we need those signs.

“Loe Bar is a killer beach.”

The beach, which blocks Loe Pool from the sea, is part of Porthleven Sands.

As there is no road access to the beach, it makes the area a rugged and beautiful place that is popular with walkers and cyclists.

The coastguard reported on Wednesday that a group of friends had gone to Loe Bar at around 1am on New Year’s Day morning.

He said: “The group went for a paddle in the rough seas and, when some of them were up to their knees, a large wave swept the person off his feet.”

He said the friends called 99 but despite a massive search in atrocious conditions by coastguards, rescue teams, The Lizard and Penlee lifeboats and a Navy helicopter from RNAS Culdrose, the missing man could not be found.

The search resumed at first light but the sea remained very rough.

It was reported this morning that a member of the public spotted a body in the water near Porthleven beach, just along the coast from Loe Bar.

As fresh gales are expected to sweep across the south and west of Britain tomorrow, the police and coastguard have issued a joint appeal urging people not to enter the sea at any time.

A police spokesperson said: “There are people who enjoy swimming in all weathers as well as those who may underestimate the danger a rough sea can pose.

“During the current bad weather, we would like to appeal to people not to put themselves, and emergency personnel who might have to turn out to rescue them, in unnecessary danger.”

During the day on New Year’s Eve, a woman also died after she was swept out to sea from the north Devon coast.

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8 comments

  • WBGraeme  |  January 03 2014, 7:15PM

    With respect to the comment by Restart, people interact with us as a newspaper/website in many different ways. They might write a letter to the editor or telephone the office or send an email, post a message to this website or through the paper's Facebook page. The point is that it is what the person says and their opinion which is important. In this case, I believe Mr Coupland has a valid point to make regarding the signs, given his own evident knowledge of the beach. You will notice I made sure to include the second photograph to show the existing sign so readers can make up their own minds. We welcome any reasonable and serious comments made on these articles.

    |   1
  • Flatpack  |  January 03 2014, 6:50PM

    Paddy wrote "Flatpack, with all due respect, I really think you need to have a little rethink" Hi Paddy, Neither of us were there that night, so I don't feel it appropriate to judge someone for their actions when I did not observe them, and to do so, correctly or incorrectly, may of course bring unnecessary upset to the family and friends of the poor fellow that lost his life. My comments are based on my own experience of Loe Bar and how extremely dangerous it is even in calm weather. I for one have seen enough bodies floating in our sea to want to put forward realistic suggestions to save a future family such heart ache. You may not like my idea of signage, but that's all it is, an idea, a suggestion. I'm happy to listen to any idea's or suggestions you may have to make our coast a safer place for us all.

  • PaddyTrembath  |  January 03 2014, 5:36PM

    Flatpack wrote:- "How dare we assume this poor guy was acting idiotically or lacked common sense, Loe Bar takes it's victims because it does not look dangerous." In the middle of the night, in the middle of winter, in the middle of a storm.??????????????????? Flatpack, with all due respect, I really think you need to have a little rethink. Riding the back of this terrible tragedy to call for such measures as plastering the place with "skull and crossbones" signs is what is "shameful".

  • Restart  |  January 03 2014, 1:20PM

    Are you seriously reporting a comment made by somebody on this website as being news? If that's the case, then please feel free to report this comment as news: The West Briton newspaper group is utter garbage.

    |   3
  • Flatpack  |  January 03 2014, 1:03PM

    Some of the comments on here are quite shameful, this article is not about general awareness of the dangers of the sea, It is about one beautiful yet extremely dangerous beach, which can look so tranquil one moment, and then in seconds can produce isolated large powerful shore dumps that can drag you in in an instant. How dare we assume this poor guy was acting idiotically or lacked common sense, Loe Bar takes it's victims because it does not look dangerous. The coastguard reports that these guys just "went for a paddle" to celebrate New Years Eve, and on any other beach that would have been just fine, but this is no ordinary beach. The call for eye catching signage is neither extreme nor a knee jerk reaction, this beach has been claiming lives for years. On any other beach paddling up to your knees in the sea, when there are no big waves to be seen would be considered quite harmless, but not on this beach. I agree, highlighting its danger does run the risk of inviting idiots to rise to the challenge, there will always be an element of our society that seeks mortal danger for fun, but they are not the innocent and do this at their own risk. Sadly such people are beyond common sense. This sad story does not sound like that at all, and reports say the poor fellow was apparently just up to his knees. A friend of mine was fishing Loe Bar a few years ago, another angler was in the water at about knee height, the weather was not extreme. Without warning a freak wave engulfed the fisherman and dragged him under, my friend and another angler used their fishing lines to save him. My friend is an ex-miner and hard as nails, he fishes some of the most extreme spots of our coastline, but he wont wade into the water at Loe Bar, no matter how calm it looks. Dramatic signage doesn't stop anyone from enjoying this beautiful beach, but it will enforce the respect that this exceedingly dangerous beach deserves. Many feel this is the most dangerous beach in the County, keeping that a secret or playing down the risk is simply irresponsible. No one is saying surround the beach in high walls and barbed wire, the beach should not be restricted in anyway, but extra signage is needed, It could be the simple solution to life or death, especially at night when the current signs can be easily overlooked.

  • josdave  |  January 03 2014, 9:53AM

    I would have thought that a fisherman would have more sense than to display what is a kneejerk reaction to someone not displaying too much common sense and suffering for that. You cannot legislate against idiocy so let the beach stay as it is.

    |   6
  • Anyone  |  January 02 2014, 9:25PM

    No need for a skull and crossbones, what a stupid idea, that is like an invitation for idiots to try even more to beat the sea, and the cross currents and rip tides at Loe Bar. Anyone who does not know that the sea is killer should be locked up under care, yes as locals we know how dangerous it is, but non locals should also know that the sea is dangerous to, if they don't then, unfortunately ,this is going to happen again, no amount of signs will prevent it. If people must paddle or swim in the early hours of the morning, then they need to do it in an area where it is reasonably safe to do so, not in an area where it is quite clearly signed that it is unsafe. That said my thoughts go out to the family and friends of the chap who lost his life at Loe Bar.

    |   11
  • PaddyTrembath  |  January 02 2014, 6:52PM

    What about a 12 foot high wall all around the coast!! But you would have to fit it with anti suicide nets, and thick foam rubber, non-flammable, around it's base. Then make it compulsory for everyone to wrap themselves in thick layers of cotton wool and bubble wrap, and wear safety helmets and flashing lights, and carry a first aid kit and bottle of oxygen, when leaving the safety of their bed. Why oh why, after any such tragedy like the one at Loe Bar, do we have to have such ridiculous calls for "safety measures" to be put in place. Especially when such measures would be an open invitation to that sort of idiot who thinks such things don't apply to them, thereby increasing the likelihood of another such tragedy.

    |   17

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