Heartbreaking tributes have been paid to a ‘perfect’ schoolgirl who died swimming off Bournemouth Pier.
The 12-year-old, from Bedfordshire, died along with a 17-year-old boy in a fright on East Beach around 4.30pm on Wednesday
A man in his 40s, who was “on the water” at the time, was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter but has since been released following an investigation.
The young girl is remembered as a popular young girl whose life was tragically cut short.
A relative paid tribute to her, saying, “She was the best cousin in the world and like my sister.”
“You showed me what love is, you are my sister, always remember that you will go to heaven.”
A friend wrote online: “You were perfect, everyone loved you and everyone was there for you, you didn’t deserve what happened to you.”
“You were just so young and there was so much more to live for.”
Another added: “I will miss you very much, thank you for supporting me.”
“I will always look up to you as my sister and always love you.”
A whining passerby left pink flowers on the beach next to the pier yesterday.
On Wednesday, an 18-year-old swimmer spotted the 12-year-old floating in the sea and helped carry her to the beach, where she underwent cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
The lifeless body of the 17-year-old boy then washed up near the shore and lifeguards and paramedics tried to rescue him.
They were both airlifted to the hospital, where they were later pronounced dead.
RNLI lifeguards rushed into the sea to rescue eight other children who were at risk of being swept away by the strong undercurrent.
This comes after it was revealed the boy was reportedly on a day trip with a college friend when he was killed.
There had previously been speculation on social media that the swimmers had jumped off Bournemouth Pier and been hit by a jet ski.
However, at a press conference on the beach this afternoon, Deputy Police Commissioner Rachel Farrell ruled out that theory.
But yesterday police officers were seen guarding the boat ‘Dorset Belle’ in a harbor in nearby Poole.
Two forensic scientists were also pictured on the ship, which operates a popular excursion tour on Dorset Pier.
This comes after it was revealed police were investigating whether flooding from a boat could have caused the tragic children to get into trouble.
MP Conor Burns said he understood a “surface ship” was in the sea around Bournemouth Pier at the time of the horror.
He said: “It doesn’t seem too far-fetched to conclude that while the ship did not physically touch the young people, perhaps the speed at which it was moving created conditions that made staying in the made water more dangerous.”
Eyewitness Michaela Robinson Grant was enjoying a drink at a bar on the pier as she watched lifeguards scramble to save swimmers.
She told The Sun: “My girlfriend and I were sitting on the balcony when we saw a lifeguard walking towards a crowd. It turned out to be the girl rescued from the sea.”
“They got rid of the crowd and we were able to see a lifeguard revive them. This lasted about 10 minutes before the entire stretch of beach was evacuated.
“Shortly thereafter, an ambulance arrived and took out the defibrillator.
“When the first rescue helicopter arrived, we saw a young man run into the sea and pull someone’s arm out. This caught the lifeguard’s attention and they rushed to rescue him.
“The second body was completely lifeless – it was honestly so scary – my boyfriend and I cried because it was traumatic to witness.”
“They started CPR and the emergency services pulled out their equipment to try to revive him.”
Local residents said last night the tides are often strong at the end of the pier and they have had difficulty even swimming there.
At the end of the pier were signs saying “No Swimming, Diving or Fishing”.
A spokesman for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) said: “We would like to send our condolences to the family and loved ones of the two young people who lost their lives on Bournemouth beach yesterday.”
“RNLI lifeguards, along with RNLI Mudeford volunteer lifeboat crews, worked with rescue services to provide search and rescue and casualty care.
“This incident is now in the hands of Dorset Police and we will not be making any further comment at this time.”