This stretch of coast is also a rather curious one, though. The name Les Petites-Dalles translates as “the little slabs.” However, the word slabs as used here is a derivation of an old Saxon or Scandinavian term for “valleys.” And if the location was a valley, then it was a valley of potential doom that day.
Now just before the event which saw the hapless sunbather scrambling for her life, a British tourist had been taking a stroll along the beach. Hence, Maurice Thomas, 74, from the small town of Shoreham in West Sussex, England, was well placed to witness the life-or-death situation that was about to unfold. Moreover, Thomas had his camera to hand and was able to shoot photos of the astonishing incident from a distance.
Speaking to U.K. tabloid the Daily Mirror, Thomas later reported, “There was a sound, louder than a clap of thunder.” And the source of the noise was quickly apparent. The British tourist watched on as the unsuspecting female sunbather looked up to see practically the entire cliff face that she was lounging under collapse. She subsequently lay helplessly as a huge amount of rubble and debris fell onto her section of the beach.