Friday 22 September 2017

Teen girl (15) died after being swept into North Sea on freezing night

Tom Wilkinson

An inquest has been held for a 15-year-old girl who was swept into the sea while playing on a pier.

Caitlin Ruddy, from Newbiggin Hall, Newcastle, died at Cullercoats, North Tyneside, after visiting the coast with friends on a freezing January evening.

She slipped off the concrete pier and into the chilly North Sea, and coroner Eric Armstrong, sitting in North Shields, found her death was accidental as a result of immersion in water.

As an RNLI crew, stationed yards from the pier, searched for her, a dog walker found her in the water near the shore and started first aid.

By then she had spent about 30 minutes in the sea, with an air temperature around freezing.

Caitlin was found around 100 metres away from the pier on the other side of Cullercoats Bay, swept along by heavy seas and a high tide.

Efforts to save her by medics at a hospital in Cramlington were in vain.

After the hearing her mother Sabrina made a statement which said: "Caitlin was a very happy and very talented young woman in and out of school and college.

"Caitlin made a lot of friends in her short life, her death has had a massive impact on their lives.

"Caitlin would put a smile on anyone's face when they were down.

"She never let anything get in her way and I just hope people take Caitlin's tragic accident and learn by it, as water is dangerous and can sweep you away like it did with her."

After she died, family members visited the beach and wrote "RIP Caitlin" in the sand.

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