The father of one of the survivors of the Bournemouth beach tragedy has spoken out about the rumors surrounding the mysterious events that led to the deaths of a 12-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy, while police searched a pleasure boat during their investigation.
Survivor Lauren Tate, 18, one of eight others injured, was treated in hospital and is now recovering at home after a high tide washed her and her friends out to sea while they were swimming off the pier, her father said.
In response to the intense speculation surrounding the incident, her father said MailOnline: “We’ve seen everything about boats and jet skis, but it wasn’t like that. She was swimming in the sea with her friends when the tide took her away.
“She was lucky to be pulled out of the sea by the Coast Guard and one of her other friends was rescued by a paddleboarder.
“I know the boy who died was in college with her, but I don’t know anything about him. She just told me they all met on the train and headed to Bournemouth beach for the day.”
Police arrested a man in his 40s who was “on the water” at the time on suspicion of manslaughter. Investigations into the exact clarification of the incident are ongoing. The man has now been released as part of the investigation.
A pleasure boat was searched as part of the investigation, with forensics officers seen aboard the Dorset Belle, which was docked in Poole Harbor on Thursday. The sun reported. A police source told the newspaper: “This ship is under a police cordon. No one may be on board or touch the ship.”
Although Dorset Deputy Police Chief Rachel Farrel urged people not to speculate about the incident, rumors spread among locals and tourists alike after the Buckinghamshire girl and Southampton boy lost their lives after being evacuated from the sea had been drawn.
According to unconfirmed reports, those involved in the incident jumped off the 1,000-foot pier; others suspected it was a jet ski. Police later denied both theories and said there was no contact between the victims and any vessel.
Mackenzie Creech, 18, who said he was trying to save the 12-year-old girl, was recounting how he was enjoying a day at the beach with his friends when he heard shouts and screams from the pier and fell into the water.
Speaking to MailOnline, Mr Creech, who hails from Tilehurst near Reading, said: “It all happened so quickly, one minute I was enjoying the beach with some friends and the next we were hearing screams and shouts.”
“I could see a body in the water and just fell in and picked it up with someone else. When I got there, she was face down and not moving. She was wearing a bathing suit but did not appear to have any injuries. There weren’t any cuts or bruises and I just knew it didn’t look good so I wore them to the beach.
“People were screaming and screaming and it was all really messy and then someone hung up some towels for privacy while the paramedics tended to them.”
“I was hoping she would make it and I didn’t know she had died until I saw it on the news. I was disappointed when I heard that and it upset me, it’s so sad that something like this happened. I did what anyone else would have done.”
Footage released online appeared to show at least one person being given CPR after lifeguards fell into the water around 4.30pm.
Other witnesses who were on the beach at the time of the incident said they saw the body of a young man wash up on the shore and lifeguards next to the pier pulling a girl out of the sea and performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation , before she was flown to the hospital by rescue plane.
Dorset Police Chief Inspector Neil Corrigan said: “Our thoughts are with the families of the young people who have 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 urge anyone with information that might assist us in our investigation to get in touch.
“We are in the early stages of our investigation and would like to ask people not to speculate as to the circumstances surrounding the incident.”