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Rock slide on Portugal beach kills five

Five people were crushed to death by a rock slide Friday on a beach in Portugal's southern Algarve region, rescue workers at the popular tourism destination said.
/ Source: Reuters

Five people were crushed to death by a rock slide Friday on a beach in Portugal's southern Algarve region, rescue workers at the popular tourism destination said.

"We have confirmed that five people died, one man and four women," civil protection commander Artur Ricardo told Reuters by telephone from the region, adding that a further three people were injured.

The incident occurred around midday at Albufeira, one of Algarve's top beach spots.

Rock slides on the cliffs of Portugal's Atlantic Ocean beaches are common and virtually every summer there are reports of injuries, especially during the busy August holiday month when the Portuguese swarm to the country's coast.

However, deaths are rare in such incidents and Friday's accident is likely to have claimed the highest number of victims for several years.

The rock slide sparked debate on radio and television stations during the day about safety standards at Portugal's beaches. The cliff side which collapsed had a sign on it reading "Danger Zone" but access to the beach was not closed.