'Chemical Haze' In East Sussex

27 August 2017, 22:47 | Updated: 27 August 2017, 23:57

Haze in East Sussex

A chemical cloud has rolled in from the sea across the East Sussex coast causing stinging eyes, coughs and sickness.

Police got a call at around 5pm on Sunday evening (27th August) after around 50 people complained of irritated eyes and throats at Birling Gap.

Shortly after other areas were affected, with the coast between Birling Gap across to Bexhill affected, there have also been reports of irritation in Brighton.

Kyle Crickmore said that his eyes started stinging and he thought it was the salt drying up after a swim. He washed them out with bottled water and they started stinging again 2 minutes later. Then all of a sudden the visibility was really poor, maybe 100 metres at most. Everybody on the beach started complaining about their eyes watering and being sore and people started coughing. There was a really strong smell of Chlorine in the air too. The beach then emptied.

Haze in East Sussex

The 'haze' is causing discomfort and has prompted emergency services to warn people to stay away from the beaches, keep doors and windows closed and if your eyes are stinging, wash them with water and the symptoms should subside.

Police say the unknown fog seems to have come from the sea, but at the moment the source of it hasn't been established.

Pic from Cloud 2 Fraser Hardy‏ @FraserHardy_uk:

Haze in East Sussex

Newhaven lifeboat were called out at 5:40pm to search for the source of the 'haze' but returned to the station at around 8:20pm.

They searched from the west side of the Severn Sisters through to Beachy Head where it was joined by Eastbourne lifeboat.

The crews stopped to talk to boats in the area to make sure everyone was ok, and also checked the beaches for anyone else affected by the cloud.

Pic from Newhaven lifeboat:

Haze in East Sussex


50 people were unwell in the area between Birling Gap and Beachy Head initially. Police, Coastguards and Fire Crews helped the casualties on the shore.

Eastbourne Hospital had queues of people outside it earlier and People are urged not to go to hospital unless an absolute emergency.

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is still in the local area and also say we need to stay indoors with windows and doors shut where possible, moving away from the area if possible. They say it's reported from Birling Gap to Bexhill and towards Hastings and East Sussex.

Their advice is that if you feel any effects, such as stinging eyes, the South East Coast Ambulance Service is advising to wash with copious amounts of water and that if you have any serious concerns then you should seek medical advice.