Police view CCTV in river tragedy

POLICE investigating a river accident which left a teenage girl fighting for her life are today examining CCTV footage.

POLICE investigating a river accident which left a teenage girl fighting for her life are today examining CCTV footage.

Detectives hope film from the cameras - which monitor shipping on the River Orwell - will give them vital evidence as to how the accident happened.

Rebecca Coles, 14, from Basildon, was in collision with a passing yacht while in an inflatable rubber ring being towed behind a speedboat near Levington Marina.

She was left with brain injuries and a fractured skull, and a broken leg, and is in a “critical” condition in Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge.

Ipswich harbourmaster Capt John Wooley said police had told him about the incident and asked to view the CCTV films.

He said: “They want to see the film and although the incident may be small and in the distance they are hoping it will help their investigation.”

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Capt Wooley said the speed limit was six knots on the river, except for an area upriver which is used for water skiing.

Felixstowe and Ipswich sector coastguard Jo Arlow said coastguards were not called to the incident. Police were investigating and the Marine Accident Investigation Bureau may also require a report.

He said: “It is a terrible thing to have happened, a very tragic accident, but this is a very busy and very narrow stretch of river and not the place to be using inflatables.

“Anyone can go and buy one of these inflatables and there are no rules about their use. They should be taken where there is plenty of open water or sea and away from the crowds.”

The incident happened around 3.30pm on Sunday.

The air ambulance was called to Suffolk Yacht Harbour but Rebecca was taken by ambulance to Ipswich Hospital and later transferred to Addenbrookes.

Jonathan Dyke, managing director at Suffolk Yacht Harbour Ltd, said: “The accident happened out on the river so we don't have any knowledge of what happened.

“We were simply used as a link for the emergency services - the girl was brought here by boat and the air ambulance landed here but in the end the transfer was done by land.”

Boat owners said they saw the air ambulance arrive but didn't know what had happened.

One man said: “It had been a beautiful weekend and the river was very busy. I was working on my boat here but when you looked out on the water it was a like a wall of boats coming in - everyone coming back from having a great weekend at sea.”

So far no details of the boats involved have been released but police investigating the incident are keen to speak to anyone who may have seen what happened.

Anyone with information should call Felixstowe CID on 01473 613500.

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