Police ‘seal off and search’ pleasure boat after Bournemouth beach tragedy

Bournemouth beach

Police have searched and impounded a pleasure boat off Bournemouth beach, following the tragic deaths of two young people.

On Wednesday afternoon (31 May 2023), a 12-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy died after being pulled from the water on Bournemouth beach with ‘critical injuries’.

Eight other children had to be rescued after getting into difficulties off the beach in Dorset, which had been filled with half-term holidaymakers and locals. A man in his 40s who was ‘on the water’ at the time has been arrested and released under investigation.

Numerous outlets, including The Times and the Independent, report that Dorset Belle, a cruise boat operating from Bournemouth Pier, has since been placed under police guard in Poole Harbor.

Dorset Police said in a statement released on Thursday morning (1 June 2023) that early investigation indicated there was ‘no physical contact between a vessel and any swimmers at the time of the incident.’

Police have confirmed the two casualties were already in the water when the incident occurred, contradicting some earlier media reports speculating they had been hurt by jumping off the pier.

Police are still establishing what happened, with the investigation still ongoing and all lines of enquiry open.

Detective Chief Superintendent Neil Corrigan, of Dorset Police, says: “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.”

The father of one survivor of Wednesday’s tragic incident has told media his daughter was taken out by a “rip tide”.

Lauren Tate, 18, was pulled from the sea by a coastguard and was treated in hospital for a short period of time and is now recovering at home.

In response to intense speculation, her father tells the Mail Online: “We’ve seen all the stuff about boats and jet skis but it wasn’t like that. She was swimming in the sea with her friends when the rip tide took them out.

“She was lucky to get pulled from the sea by the coastguard and one of her other friends was rescued by a paddleboarder.

“I know the boy who died was at college with her, but I don’t know anything about him. All she told me is that they all met up on the train and headed to Bournemouth beach for the day.”

A Bournemouth MP has now urged a safety review following the tragic deaths and called on police to clarify the circumstances to end ‘wild speculation’.

Tobias Ellwood, Conservative MP for Bournemouth East, tells the PA news agency: “There needs to be a review; the police are conducting their investigation, and there needs to be a review of the circumstances to see whether any safety measures and protocols need to be upgraded to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future.

“I encourage Dorset Police to clarify the general circumstances of this tragic accident to avoid further wild speculation and uncertainty for parents who may be cautious about going to any part of the beach, unclear of exactly what happened in this terrible incident.”

Witnesses have described how ‘idiots’ with phones were seen filming lifeguards trying to perform CPR on the two children.

“There were loads of idiots ignoring lifeguard requests to get out of the water and clear the beach,” eyewitness Nicola Holton told the Mirror. “People were running towards those having CPR filming on their phones.”

In an apparently unrelated incident, a mass brawl broke out on Bournemouth beach on Thursday (1 June 2023), in a fight said to have involved around 50 people wielding weapons.

Officers from Dorset Police were reportedly called to the beach at 3.02pm on Thursday, and one person was detained.

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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