Thousands of tourists will be able to admire the famous Zakynthos Shipwreck from afar after Port Authorities forbade both anchoring of boats and swimming in the area following the cliff collapse on Thursday.
Port Authorities on the island of Zakynthos have issued a decision forbidding the sailing of and anchoring of boats close to the beach site, tourists’ disembarkation and swimming.
The decision is valid until ‘further notice’ port authorities said.
It is certainly a highly wise decision after the powerful rock slide that injured eight people and turned the careless hours of sun, swim and beach into nightmare for hundreds of tourists many of them with their children.
“Fortunately the accident occurred in the morning, because later on the day, many sunbathers go under this specific area seeking shade from the sun,” an eye witness told local media.
“There was panic, scenes of biblical disaster. Overturned boats, rough sea, people screaming, mothers looking for their kids.”
A family from the Czech Republic was still hospitalized on Friday, the 34-year-old mother may undergo surgery because of a spinal bone fracture.
Several tourists narrowly escaped death when a massive sheet of rock detached from the cliff and crashed in a depth of 60 meters.
While inspection teams are expected in the area, teams of the local Fire Service remain deployed in the area.
Drone video after the cliff collapse
The cliff collapse has alerted local authorities and especially those who have been demanding safety measures in the Navagio area for the last ten years.
“There are also other beaches on the island where tourists can go swimming,” mayor of Zakynthos Pavlos Kolokotsas told media. stressing “this incident enforces us to take measures.” He did not elaborate about what measures will be taken, though.
‘The beach will remain close until certain things are clear, ” deputy governor of Zakynthos Lefteris Niotopoulos told Skai TV.
“There are already studies, there is not just this one beach, there are studies for six to seven beaches across Greece, we have to review these studies,” he added.
Professor Eythimios Lekkas, head of Greece’s Earthquake Planning and Protection Organization said a few hours after the rock fall that the EPPO has already warned that another seven beaches at the Ionian Sea that are at risk of possible landslides.
“Porto Katsiki on Lefkada and Myrtos on Kefalonia are two of them,” Lekkas told Skai TV. He revealed that they have proposed to the local governments preventive measures that can be funded by the EU. Such measures were that the areas at risk are divided into ‘zones’ and that protective wires hinder visitors from approaching these areas.
“Nobody doubts that Zakynthos owes 70% of its visitors to the famous Shipwreck,” writes local newspaper imerazante adding “it is high time that somebody undertakes initiatives” for the protection both of the area as well as the visitors.
Life guards are needed but also restrictions to the number of boats approaching daily the Navagio beach, the newspaper notes among others.
At the peak time of the touristic season up to 10,000 people reportedly visit the Shipwreck beach on a daily basis.