Teenage girl (15) dies after being swept into the sea
Published 17/01/2016 | 12:27
A 15-year-old girl who was swept into the sea by a large wave has died despite a rescue bid by a member of the public, police have said.
The girl was with a group of teenagers on the north pier at Cullercoats Bay, North Tyneside, on Saturday evening when a large wave hit and she was washed into the sea.
Northumbria Police said officers were called to the scene at 7.44pm and described the sea as "running high".
In a statement before she died, the force said the Coastguard and the RNLI were called and a member of the public rescued the 15-year-old from the south side of the bay.
On Sunday morning, the force said she died in Cramlington hospital.
Her friends, a girl of 15, and a boy and girl both aged 14, had managed to get away safely. They were taken to hospital as a precaution after being soaked, but were well.
Before the girl died, Chief Inspector Paul Knox said: "We need to remind people of the danger of the sea, particularly in the dark and cold at this time of year, when tides are high and people can be taken unawares by the strength of the waves and the inherent dangers of the sea.
"People should always be careful around water and if the sea is looking rough with waves pounding onto the pier, we would advise people to be particularly cautious and keep their distance."
Anyone with information about the incident should call 101.
It was bitterly cold on the coast and the sea was choppy, a local resident who saw the rescue operation said.
Dr Clare Guilding, a lecturer at Newcastle University who lives in Cullercoats, was alerted by the police helicopter hovering overhead.
She said the beach was known locally as a popular place for teenagers to congregate.
Dr Guilding added: "The weather was clear but it was absolutely freezing.
"It said it was minus 2C but once you get out on the front it was just bitterly, bitterly cold.
"The sea was choppy, but I have seen it worse than that before."
She witnessed a search and rescue team on the shore as well as the RNLI, police crews and ambulances, with the police helicopter above.
She said of the area: "It's a well-known place for teenagers to go and hang out.
"I was really sorry to see the news about what happened."
The RNLI released dramatic black-and-white footage of the search, with crew members shining torches onto the rough seas, in the hope of spotting the teenager.