Restored pleasure boat at the centre of criminal investigation after death of two teenagers on Bournemouth beach

2 June 2023, 06:43 | Updated: 2 June 2023, 07:15

The Dorset Belle has been impounded by police
The Dorset Belle has been impounded by police. Picture: Getty/Social Media
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

A restored pleasure boat is at the centre of a criminal investigation following the death of two teenagers on Bournemouth beach.

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The Dorset Belle was impounded by cops after a man in his 40s - who was "on the water" at the time of the incident, was arrested.

He has since been arrested under investigation while enquiries continue, police have said.

A boy, 17, from Southampton, and girl, 12, from Buckinghamshire, died in hospital after getting into difficulty in the sea off Bournemouth beach on Wednesday afternoon.

Dorset Police confirmed they were not related.

Eight other people were treated by paramedics at the scene.

The man arrested was on the water at the time, the force said.

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The Dorset Belle has been impounded
The Dorset Belle has been impounded. Picture: Getty

Officers dismissed suggestions that a boat struck swimmers, saying today that "early investigation indicates that there was no physical contact between a vessel and any swimmers at the time of the incident".

Detective Chief Superintendent Neil Corrigan said: "Our thoughts remain very much with the loved ones of the two young people at this horrendous time and we are doing all we can to support their families.

"We are continuing with our investigation, which is still at the early stages, and would ask people not to speculate about the circumstances surrounding the incident to both protect our enquiries and out of respect for the victims' families.

Police were seen standing by a sightseeing boat, The Dorset Belle, moored on Poole Harbour, on Thursday evening.

Police rule out contact between swimmers and vessel off Bournemouth beach

The vessel, which can carry up to 80 guests, made several circuits in the waters off Bournemouth Pier on Wednesday, according to online tracker MarineTraffic, including around the time of the incident.

Read more: Waves from 'vessel' may have caused deaths of girl, 12, and boy, 17 at Bournemouth beach

Read more: Sick onlookers filmed medics as they tried to revive Bournemouth victims - as police urge people not to share footage

Speaking at a press conference in Bournemouth, Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Farrell also said there was no suggestion that people had been jumping into the sea from the pier or that jet skis were involved.

Boy and girl die following incident off Bournemouth beach

"We are working with partner agencies to understand what has caused the tragedy," the force said in a statement.

"We are investigating the circumstances that caused a number of swimmers to get into difficulty.

"Further information will be released as the investigation progresses."