A boulder surrounding Popeye Village in Mellieħa was dislodged and collapsed onto one of the small structures of the popular tourist attraction below it, witnesses have told Times of Malta

The incident occurred on Thursday afternoon, while the gale-force Storm Helios has been battering the coastal areas of the Maltese Islands, with torrential rain pouring down for more than 24 hours. 

A woman who was in the area at the time said she was driving on Triq il-Prajjiet in Mellieħa with a friend when they stopped along the cliffside next to Anchor Bay to take pictures of Popeye Village at around 3pm. 

Just a few seconds later, the pair witnessed part of the cliff face coming loose and tumbling down below. 

“I saw part of the cliff, like a huge rock come away and fall onto the houses below, crushing them,” she said. 

“There were some people in the place, I think they must have been working there and a few minutes later they started going towards where the rock fell.” 

A closer shot of the scene after part of the cliff fell in to the popular tourist attraction. Photo: Matthew MirabelliA closer shot of the scene after part of the cliff fell in to the popular tourist attraction. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Sources from within the park confirmed that at least one hut had been damaged as a result. 

Nobody was injured and the park was closed at the time with no employees present, the sources said.

The management of Anchor Bay Leisures Limited, operators of Popeye Village, later confirmed that a boulder on the border of the property became dislodged onto one of the structures.

"At the time, Popeye Village had already been previously closed due to the persistent inclement weather which has caused unfortunate widespread damage and disruption. No person was involved in or affected by this incident."

The management said it had notified the Civil Protection Department about the incident and also lodged a report with the police.

Popeye Village will remain closed until all necessary assessments and verifications are carried out and all clearance works are completed.

In 2017, a photo showing a large fissure in the cliffs above Anchor Bay began circulating on social media, causing alarm that the area was in danger of imminent collapse. 

At the time, geologists said that there is no cause for alarm and that photos going back at least two decades show that the fissure has existed for many years.

Popeye Village was created as a film set for the 1980 movie 'Popeye' but has since been turned into a popular tourist attraction. 

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