The rock formation, a natural limestone arch, was created after two sea caves collapsed and was a popular site among locals and tourists, attracting thousands every year. Malta’s prime minister Joseph Muscat tweeted about the incident, calling it “heartbreaking”.
After the Azure Window crumbled, locals headed towards the area to see the devastation for themselves, the Times of Malta reported. However, police posted a warning on Facebook, advising people to stay away from the site. Roger Chessell was at the scene when the rocks collapsed at about 9.40am, and told the Times of Malta: “there was a big raging sea beneath the window. Suddenly, the arch collapsed into the sea with a loud whoomph, throwing up a huge spray. By the time the spray had faded, the stack had gone too.”
Geologists had expressed concern over the formation’s longevity, concluding while erosion was inevitable, the structure was not in imminent danger of collapsing, in a study published just four years ago. However, the government did implement a ban on walking across the rocks, making it a finable offence. The Azure Window was used as a filming location for several movies and TV series, with The Odyssey, Clash Of The Titans and Game Of Thrones all using it as a beautiful backdrop.
Get the top travel news stories delivered straight to your inbox every weekday by signing up to our newsletter.