This stretch of coast is a rather curious one. The name Les Petites-Dalles translates as “the little slabs.” However, the word slabs used here is a derivation of an old Saxon or Scandinavian term for “valleys.” It certainly was a little valley of potential doom that day.
Just before the event which saw the hapless sunbather scrambling for her life, a British tourist had been taking a stroll along the beach. As a result, tourist Maurice Thomas, 74, from the small town of Shoreham in West Sussex, England, was well-placed to witness a life-or-death situation. He had his camera to hand and was able to shoot photos of the spectacular incident from a distance.
Speaking to U.K. tabloid The Mirror, Thomas later reported, “There was a sound, louder than a clap of thunder.” He saw the unsuspecting female sunbather look up to see the entire cliff face she was lounging under collapse, lying helplessly as a huge amount of rubble and debris fell onto her section of beach.