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Police rule out contact between swimmers and vessel off Bournemouth beach

Police have confirmed that they do not believe a vessel made contact with swimmers off Bournemouth beach (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Ben Mitchell, PA

Police have confirmed that no vessel is believed to have been in “physical contact” with a 17-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl who died after getting into difficulty in the sea off Bournemouth beach.

Dorset Police received a report from paramedics at around 4.30pm on Wednesday afternoon of people requiring assistance on the beach near to Bournemouth Pier.

Emergency services attended the scene and 10 people were recovered from the water.

The force said that a 17-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl sustained “critical injuries” and later died in hospital, while the other eight people were treated for injuries that were not life-threatening.

A man aged in his 40s, who was “on the water” at the time, has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter, according to police.

A force spokesman said on Thursday: “We continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the tragic incident that occurred yesterday resulting in the deaths of a 12-year-old girl and 17-year-old boy.

“We are working with partner agencies to understand what has caused the tragedy.

“However, early investigation indicates that there was no physical contact between a vessel and any swimmers at the time of the incident.

“We are investigating the circumstances that caused a number of swimmers to get into difficulty.

“Further information will be released as the investigation progresses.”

Families who have arrived at the beach on Thursday have spoken of their shock at the previous day’s events.

One woman, who did not want to be named, said: “It’s such a shame, people just come here to have fun during the half term, it’s a real tragedy.”

Detective Chief Superintendent Neil Corrigan, of Dorset Police, said: “Our thoughts are with the loved ones of the young people who tragically died and we are doing all we can to support their families.

“I understand the beach was very busy at the time of the incident and I would ask anyone with information that may assist our enquiries to please come forward.

“We are at the early stages of our investigation and would ask people not to speculate about the circumstances surrounding the incident.”

Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns said the incident was a “salutary lesson” that “danger is ever present” on beaches and the ocean.

“Thoughts with everyone associated with the dreadful events unfolding in Bournemouth this evening,” he said.

“A salutary lesson that our beaches and ocean can give much pleasure but danger is ever present.

“Thanks to the Life Guards and the Air Ambulance who we can take for granted.”

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