Police issue alert after chemical 'haze' affects beachgoers in UK

Police issue alert after chemical 'haze' affects beachgoers in UK
Photo taken with permission from the Twitter feed of @WelshJab of mist at Beachy Head in East Sussex, England, today.

People on the south coast of England have been warned to stay away from beaches and to keep doors and windows closed due to a chemical 'haze' in the area.

Emergency services issued the warning near the East Sussex coast after up to 50 people complained of irritation to their eyes and throats.

Sussex Police said: "This seems to have been caused by an unknown haze coming in from the sea, but the source has not yet been established."

East Sussex Fire and Rescure Service said the "chemical incident" was ongoing.

The first calls were made to the emergency services just before 5pm.

Police said the source of the haze has not yet been established.

A spokesman said: "Emergency services are treating people at Birling Gap and clearing the area.

"People living along the coast in the area have been advised to keep doors and windows shut and to move away from the Birling Gap area in particular."

The RNLI said that "possibly some kind of gaseous fumes" had drifted over the scene and a significant number of people on cliff tops had been struck down with symptoms including irritation, sore eyes and vomiting.

Fears from the coastguard that people could be trapped on the beach saw the RNLI launch all-weather lifeboats from Eastbourne and Newhaven to the Birling Gap area.

There was a doctor on board the Eastbourne lifeboat.

A spokesman said: "We have been checking along the shoreline to try and ensure that everyone is safe."

He said a "plume" had drifted across the area bringing "some sort of substance" with it which seemed to affect a number of people.

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