A CLEAR-UP operation is underway at Clacton Pier after a section of the outside ride deck collapsed into the sea.

The landmark said contractors, management and staff have been working around the tide to remove debris from the seabed and have it taken away.

The collapse, which occurred at 11am on Friday, took place while structural refurbishment work was being carried out to strengthen the existing concrete deck area which had been home to Stella’s Revenge in readiness for the Looping Star.

Contractors were on site within three hours and by 10.30pm the section had been made safe and about half the rubble had been collected.

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By 9.30am on Saturday the operation had begun again on the next low tide and extra people were brought in to make sure the scheme was carried out as quickly as possible.

Director Billy Ball said every possible resource was put into the clear-up.

“This was important with Storm Dennis imminent and because as a business we wanted it to take place without delay,” he added. “Our structural engineers were impressed with the progress made in such a short period of time.”

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Mr Ball said the structural engineers are still assessing the damage and what may have caused it.

“At this point we believe that a combination of the effects of last week’s tidal surge and the removal of Stella’s Revenge from that deck may have made that small section more vulnerable,” he explained.

“Then when we started the work four bays of the existing concrete slabs failed, and the collapse took place.”

No-one was injured and the damaged area has been fenced off.

It is the only part of the outside deck which has been affected and the front indoor section of the pier remains open for business as usual.

This includes the dodgems, soft play, golf, bowling, seaquarium, amusements and Boardwalk Bar.

It had been hoped to open up a limited number of rides for half term but this has now been delayed until next weekend at the earliest.

“We have had lots of customers turning up to the indoor attractions and have been overwhelmed by their good wishes and encouragement,” Mr Ball added.

“We have received messages from around the world literally, and we are grateful to all those who have contacted us by phone, on social media and other means.

“What we do ask is that our customers continue to support us by coming to the attractions we do have open and are contained inside and are in no way affected by the collapse.

“It is obviously a difficult time and there is no estimate yet as to when we can carry out the repairs, but it will be business as usual in the meantime.”