Following recent heavy storms, Malta’s famous Azure Window rock arch has completely collapsed into the sea below. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has described the news of the destruction as “heartbreaking”. A study conducted in 2013 stated that, although erosion was inevitable, the arch-shaped structure was not in any danger of collapsing in the near future, according to reports by the Times of Malta.
The limestone arch that is situated on Gozo island is a famous landmark that has been featured in several films and television series, including the first episode of the HBO series Game of Thrones.
Although country officials recently introduced signs and a fine to stop people from walking across the important landmark, these were often ignored by visitors to the arch. There has even been video evidence of tourists jumping off the arch into the sea in the past, which resulted in them dislodging clumps of rock in the process. Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat wrote on Twitter: “Reports commissioned over the years indicated that this landmark would be hard hit by unavoidable natural corrosion. That sad day arrived.”
Following the recent collapse, Roger Chessell, from the village of Xaghra, told the Times of Malta, “There was a big raging sea beneath the window. Suddenly, the arch collapsed into the sea.” The destruction came after strong gale force winds hit Malta on Tuesday, which even led the Gozo Channel ferry company to suspend its services, according to reports. News of the collapse led many residents to travel to the site to see what had happened at the famous landmark.
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