THE girl who was tragically killed in a rock fall at Staithes on the North Yorkshire coast has been formally named.

She is nine-year-old Harriet Emily Nicola Forster, from Oxford.

Her family have issued a statement saying: "We cannot comprehend the enormity of this tragedy. Harriet was the light of our lives.

“We ask that you give us time as a family to support each other through our indescribable pain. Thank you."

North Yorkshire Police said Harriet was visiting Staithes with her family when the incident occurred near the south pier at Seaton Garth at about 4.47pm on Wednesday.

"Despite the efforts of the emergency services, including the Coastguard, the RNLI, ambulance, air ambulance, fire and rescue and the police, Harriet was sadly pronounced dead at the scene," said a spokesman.

"North Yorkshire Police is compiling a report about the circumstances of the death on behalf of the coroner.

Multiple ambulances, fire crews, police, the RNLI and two air ambulances were dispatched to Seaton Garth in Staithes at around 4.47pm on Wednesday night.

Harriet was found at the scene with serious head injuries. She died of her injuries shortly afterwards.

Witnesses at the scene reported that the beach popular with tourists was completely closed by emergency services. It remains cordoned off today.

Staithes Coastguard Rescue Team wrote on Facebook yesterday: "Sometimes finding the right words is hard. We have families, loved ones who mean the world to us too.

"When we’re called out we will always strive to search, rescue and to save. Sometimes though despite all our efforts, not everyone can be saved.

"Our thoughts are with all those who are grieving and whose lives have been devastated."

In a post to the Staithes village Facebook page last night, one resident said: “The whole village is in shock after the tragic event earlier today.

“Everyone in the community, or connected with Staithes, are passing on their deepest condolences to the family.”

A statement from the RNLI said crew members of Staithes and Runswick Lifeboat Station responded to the emergency, adding: "The RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew attended to a child who sadly died at the scene. 

"The RNLI, and in particular the volunteers of Staithes and Runswick Lifeboat Station, would like to share their deepest condolences with the child's family."

Scarborough Borough Council leader, Cllr Derek Bastiman, said: “Our thoughts are with the family of the nine-year-old girl who has lost her life in such tragic circumstances.

“Many of us are parents ourselves and it’s deeply upsetting when something like this happens.

“I would like to express my gratitude on behalf of the council to the emergency services for their response in what must have been a deeply harrowing situation.”

Anyone with information that could assist enquiries is asked to call North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 1, and speak to the Force Control Room. Please quote reference number 12180146823."