Three women were killed when a cliff collapsed on an Encinitas beach on Friday, Aug. 2, where members of a family gathered to celebrate the tough battle one of them had fought against breast cancer.
Two of the three victims were identified as Anne Clave, 35, and her mother, Julie Davis, 65, who died at Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas, California, after the collapse, the San Diego County Medical Examiner said. The third victim was identified in a family email obtained Saturday by KNSD-TV Channel 7 as Elizabeth Cox, Clave’s aunt. Cox died instantly at the scene.
The women were part of a family gathering at Grandview Beach that day celebrating Cox surviving breast cancer, the email said.
Davis was a mother of four and had nine grandchildren. She was an “incredible grandmother,” the email said, and Clave “enriched the lives of all those around her with the joy and fun she brought to all.”
On Saturday morning, officials reopened much of the popular surf beach that was closed following the tragedy.
Encinitas Lifeguard Capt. Larry Giles said at a news conference that a lifeguard was posted to the north and south of the cliff collapse, which is still marked by yellow caution tape.
The tumbling cliff was described as being approximately 25 feet depth and about 30 feet wide.
Giles said on Saturday the lifeguard tower near the scene was moved away from the part of the cliff that collapsed because “the area is still active.” A geologist assessing the scene was “concerned about the areas to the side of the current failure failing.”
Giles said the homes on top of the cliff were in no immediate danger.
The collapse happened shortly before 3 p.m. Friday just north of a lifeguard station. A nearby lifeguard reported feeling and hearing the thud as the dense dirt landed on the beach.
Lifeguards and beachgoers immediately began to rescue victims. They scrambled to the towering pile of debris—estimated to weigh tens of thousands of pounds.
Search dogs went through the site of the collapse late Friday to hunt for other possible victims, and officials determined that no other victims were found, Encinitas Fire Deputy Chief Robert Ford said. Two people walked away uninjured after the collapse.
According to Giles, the geology experts will continue assessing the coastline for any potential collapse threats. Geotech soil engineers said Friday’s failure was an isolated incident and unrelated to the recent earthquakes in Southern California.
Giles said, “It’s just an erosion incident that took place at this location at the wrong time.”