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Witnesses sought after girl killed in Southampton speedboat accident

By PA News

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Police want to talk to anyone who may have witnessed a speedboat accident on the Solent on Saturday (Ben Mitchell/PA)

Police are appealing for witnesses after a 15-year-old girl was killed in a speedboat accident in Southampton on Saturday.

Twelve people were taken to hospital after a rigid inflatable boat (RIB) collided with a buoy in the Solent shortly after 10am between Netley Abbey and Hythe Pier.

The teenager was pronounced dead in hospital.

The victim has been named in reports as Emily Lewis from Park Gate near Southampton.

It is understood that her father Simon, mother Nikki and 19-year-old sister Amy were also on the boat, and that both her mother and sister suffered broken arms.

The condition of the remaining 11 passengers is unknown, although Hampshire Constabulary confirmed all required medical treatment and some were seriously injured.

Police have opened an investigation alongside the Maritime & Coastguard Agency and the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) and are now appealing for witnesses.

Hampshire Constabulary has declined to name the owners of the RIB involved, but confirmed the boat had been on a commercial trip run by a local company.

This was a tragic incident, and our thoughts remain with the young girl’s family at this difficult time
Neil Corrigan, Hampshire Constabulary

The force is calling for anyone who may have footage of the accident to come forward.

Detective Superintendent Neil Corrigan said: “This was a tragic incident, and our thoughts remain with the young girl’s family at this difficult time.

“We are now building a picture of what happened on the water that day, and the circumstances leading up to this collision.

“It is important that we gather as much visual evidence as we can, as well as accounts from any witnesses.”

Mr Corrigan appealed to anyone who was on the ferry heading to East Cowes on the Isle of Wight that left Southampton at 10am, and anyone else that might have been on the water at the time.

A local mariner told the PA news agency that navigation markers in the Solent were usually very large, and could be the size of a small car.

He said conditions in the Solent had been very difficult on Saturday, with strong spring tides coupled with winds of 8 on the Beaufort Scale at times – up to 46mph.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101, quoting Operation Orange.

You can also submit information and visually recorded evidence via the Major Incident Public Portal at https://mipp.police.uk/operation/44HC20W09-PO1 .

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