Beach patrols praised for rescue efforts

EMERGENCY services and rescue teams involved in the search for 10-year-old Stella Akanbi, who drowned off the Clacton coastline on Sunday, have been thanked and praised for their efforts.

Roddy Ashworth

EMERGENCY services and rescue teams involved in the search for 10-year-old Stella Akanbi, who drowned off the Clacton coastline on Sunday, have been thanked and praised for their efforts.

Tendring District Council (TDC) deputy leader Peter Halliday said that he could only begin to imagine what they all had gone through during the non-stop 24-hour operation.

Stella disappeared underwater at around 4pm on Sunday while she was swimming with a friend close to the Palace breakwater about a quarter-of-a-mile south west of the resort's pier.


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Around 60 people were involved in the subsequent attempts to find the little girl, who had been visiting Clacton on a day trip from Milton Keynes.

Her body was recovered at around 3.50pm on Monday after it was spotted in the sea not far from where she had last been seen.

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“It truly was a massive team effort involving the RNLI, Coastguard, Police, the council's own Beach Patrol Team and many others who joined in - and a very difficult time for them all,” Mr Halliday said.

“While our thoughts obviously go out to Stella's parents, family and friends it is also a time to reflect on the efforts of those who took part in the search and recovery of this young girl.”

Mr Halliday said that millions of visitors enjoy Tendring's coastline every single year and return home with many happy memories.

“Sadly in this instance it was not the case for Stella and her group but they were given the full efforts and support of all the rescue teams who took part.”

TDC's Beach Patrol team flew the flag at half mast at their boat house today as a mark of respect for Stella.

“The team were the first on the scene when it became apparent that something was wrong near the Palace breakwater,” said Mr Halliday.

“They were very much involved in the initial search for Stella and want to thank all those other services and volunteers who responded to their call for assistance.”

Mr Halliday said that everyone at the council was extremely proud of the team's actions and efforts - and the part they played to support the other services.

“They are a credit to the council and the district,” he added.

“We are very fortunate in Tendring to have those such as the RNLI, Coastguard, and Beach Patrol to keep a close watch on our beaches and waters.”

Mr Halliday was joined by chief executive John Hawkins who said he was very proud of the work of all the council's staff who helped out during this tragic accident.

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