An iconic, natural arch featured in films and television series including "Clash of the Titans", "The Odyssey", and "Game of Thrones", has collapsed.
The prime minister of Malta tweeted the sad news as if the island nation south of Italy had just lost a special friend, and in a way it did.
I have just been informed that the handsome Tieqa tad-Dwejra in #Gozo has collapsed.
Prime Minister Muscat said the famous Mediterranean landmark had always faced destruction because of natural corrosion.
On Tuesday strong gale-force winds in Malta lead the Gozo Channel ferry company to suspend its services. At about 9:40 a.m. local time (3:40 a.m. EST) Wednesday morning, the sea claimed not only the arch - it brought down the entire formation. "Although this is a very sad day for Malta & Gozo Dwejra still has other great sites for tourists, such as the inland sea and the Fungus Rock".
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"The sea was unleashed under the arch", Roger Chessel told Times of Malta, a resident who came to take pictures of the storm.
Maltese environment minister José Herrera said that no human intervention could have prevented the rock's collapse, and that it was inevitable. "Suddenly, the arch collapsed into the sea".
"The Azure Window was a spectacular site and a natural wonder. Bu the time the spray had faded, the stack had gone too".
The 50-metre-high limestone arch on the island of Gozo, in Dwejra Bay, attracted thousands of tourists a year.
The Azure Window has adorned countless Malta holiday brochures and tourism guides, but it has also been the backdrop for many famous scenes on film.