Police 'keeping an open mind' about cause of Bournemouth tragedy

A floral tribute has been left near the scene of the tragedy <i>(Image: Newsquest)</i>
A floral tribute has been left near the scene of the tragedy (Image: Newsquest)

POLICE investigating the deaths of two young people in a major incident at Bournemouth beach say they are keeping an open mind about the cause of the tragedy.

Joe Abbess, 17, of Southampton, and 12-year-old Sunnah Khan, from Buckinghamshire, died after being recovered from the sea last Wednesday.

A Dorset police spokesperson said: "The beach was extremely busy at the time of the incident and we are continuing to appeal for witnesses to come forward and speak to us as well as submit any mobile phone or photographic footage.

"As previously stated, neither of the deceased young people or anyone else pulled from the sea at the time of the incident, was involved in any collision or contact with any vessel in the water.

"Dorset Police is aware of significant speculation in news media and social media concerning a pleasure boat, which was in the area at the time of the tragedy off Bournemouth Pier.

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"The police investigation is looking at all circumstances of the incident including weather, wind conditions and the state of the water at the time. As there was a pleasure boat in the area of water, this is just one of several lines of enquiry."

Detective Chief Superintendent Neil Corrigan added: "We continue to keep an open mind around the circumstances that have led to the tragic death of two young people in the water off the beach.

"Our thoughts remain with the families of those young people.

"As with any investigation of this nature, we have to look at all factors connected to the state of the water. One of those lines of enquiry has involved the pleasure boat, which was in the area at the time of the incident.

"These enquiries also include examining wind, other weather and general coastal conditions at the time.

"We are working with experts from partner agencies to understand all of the factors and this will take time to establish.

"“We continue to support the families of Joe and Sunnah and they are being kept updated by specially trained family liaison officers about our investigation.

"I would ask that the police investigation is allowed to continue without further unhelpful speculation around circumstances of the incident, and that there is respect for the families of those who have died so tragically.

"I would continue to appeal to anyone at the beach at the time who witnessed the incident to come forward and talk to us."

A man in his 40s arrested on Wednesday, has been released under investigation in connection with the incident.

An inquest into both of the deaths is anticipated to be opened today, subject to confirmation.

Anyone with information is asked to submit it via https://mipp.police.uk/operation/55HQ23M93-PO1. If you are unable to submit information online, call 101 quoting occurrence number 55230083818.