A 17-year-old-boy and a 12-year-old girl have died following an incident on a beach in Bournemouth, and a man in his 40s has been arrested after the major incident.
Emergency services were called to the scene shortly after 4pm yesterday. Lifeguards on the busy beach rushed into the water by Bournemouth Pier after a group of people got into difficulty in the sea around 4.30pm on Wednesday.
A group, which included a number of children, had got into difficulty in the water near Bournemouth Pier.
Dorset Police have now confirmed that two children – a boy aged 17 and a girl aged 12 – have died.
It is believed that all of those involved were aged between 12 and 18.
The man in his 40s has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter, Dorset Police said.
Detective Chief Superintendent Neil Corrigan 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.’
Dorset Police said they received a report from paramedics at around 4.30pm on Wednesday afternoon of people requiring assistance on the beach off Bournemouth Pier.
Ten people were subsequently recovered from the water but a 17-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl had suffered critical injuries.
Emergency services were quickly at the scene with the teenage boy and girl being rushed to hospital after sustaining critical injuries.
Tragically they both died later in hospital. Their families have been informed.
The other eight people were treated at the scene for non-life-threatening injuries.
The beach was full of thousands of people at the time, soaking up the sun during half term for children up and down the country.
People were told to evacuate the beach earlier and watched on in shock as the rescue took place.
Eeman Qamar, from Southampton, was on the beach with her mother and three-month-old baby at the time of the incident.
She told the BBC: The lifeguards started getting on jet skis and boats, searching the sea and about 20 minutes later the second air ambulance arrived and it took another hour-and-a-half for them to finish the whole search and rescue operation.’
Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns said the incident was a ‘salutary lesson’ that ‘danger is ever present’ on beaches and the ocean.