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Children killed in Bournemouth Beach tragedy ‘knocked off pier by jet ski wave’

Air ambulances at Bournemouth beach

Police in Dorset are understood to be working on a theory that the 10 people rescued from the sea off Bournemouth Pier were swept into the water by a jet ski or similar motorised vessel. So far Dorset Police has confirmed that a 17-year-old boy and a girl aged 12 died in the incident. A man in his 40s has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after what happened off Bournemouth beach.

Air ambulances at the scene in Bournemouth (Image: Facebook/Professor Dimitrios Buhalis)

Bournemouth Pier

A view of Bournemouth beach today with the pier in the background (Image: PA)


Police officers at the beach earlier today (Image: PA)

The force said it received a report from paramedics at around 4.30pm on Wednesday afternoon of people requiring assistance on the beach off 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 are not life-threatening.

An investigation has been launched and a man in his 40s has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter.


People at Bournemouth beach today (Image: PA)


A bunch of flowers left at Bournemouth beach (Image: PA)

Express.co.uk now understands that the group were on a lower section of Bournemouth Pier used for fishing and boarding vessels.

The police are believed to currently understand that some sort of motorised vessel, such as a jet ski, approached the pier too quickly, turned sharply and created a wave which then either knocked the children off or made them slip into the sea.

Dorset Police has been approached for comment.

The force said in a major update released earlier on Thursday its officers continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the tragic incident, but it ruled out contact between the group and a vessel.

Bournemouth beach: Boy, 17, and girl, 12, die following incident

It added: “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 arrived at the beach on Thursday spoke of their shock at the previous day’s tragic 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.”

Bournemouth Beach

Bournemouth beach a day after the tragic deaths (Image: PA)

Witness Tom Saunders told Sky News: “I was surfing on the west side with about four other people and we heard the lifeguard sirens going off, making announcements and the beach got cleared either side. Obviously, we knew something had gone on and the helicopter was coming so we knew it was serious.

“Unfortunately, I saw someone receiving CPR, the lifeguards put up a screen so no-one could see but unfortunately from where we were we could.

“The jetskis were going round the pier looking for stuff so me and three other surfers offered to help and actually paddled into the pier to have a look.

“They said there were two people missing at the time then after about half an hour they said everyone was accounted for and we just carried on.”

Bournemouth beach

A lifeguard walks among beach-goers at the popular spot in Bournemouth (Image: PA)

Witnesses have described harrowing scenes at the popular destination, which would have been full of people during the half term holiday.

Nicola Holton, who was at the beach with her husband, told MailOnline there were “loads of idiots” ignoring lifeguard requests to get out of the water and clear the beach.

She said: “People were running towards those having CPR filming on their phones.”

A large rescue operation involving the police, paramedics and air ambulance was launched with the sands around the pier having to be cleared so two helicopters could land.


A lifeguard raises a red and yellow flag at the beach (Image: PA)

Lifeguards from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) along with volunteer lifeboat crews from RNLI Mudeford worked with emergency services to provide search and rescue as well as casualty care.

An RNLI spokesperson said: “We would like to offer our condolences to the family and loved ones of the two young people who sadly lost their lives yesterday at Bournemouth beach.”

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.”

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