Second girl still missing as body is found in water

School trip tragedy: Police begin investigation after two teenagers are swept away on a supervised walk upstream along a swollen river
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The Independent Online

Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a teenage girl who was swept away while walking in a swollen river on a school residential trip. A second girl is also missing and is feared dead.

Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a teenage girl who was swept away while walking in a swollen river on a school residential trip. A second girl is also missing and is feared dead.

The body of 14-year-old Rochelle Cauvet was seen from a police helicopter at 9.30am yesterday, four miles downstream of the spot in Stainforth Beck, near Ingleton, North Yorkshire, where the current overcame her on Tuesday afternoon.

Hopes were fading for 13-year-old Hannah Black as the search was extended as far as Lytham St Anne's on the Lancashire coast.

The girls were among a party of 15 from Royds School, Oulton, near Leeds. They were swept away while "riverwalking" on a nature walk.

The search operation leader, Detective Superintendent Ian Lynch, said river-walking would be investigated as part of an examination of the "public safety issues" in the case.

He said: "We will look at all the circumstances surrounding the school, education authority, the teachers involved in the incident and the children. It will be a thorough investigation. It's too early to say if it will be a criminal investigation."

Keith Burton, director of education at Leeds City Council, which has also opened aninvestigation, insisted river-walking was considered to be "low-risk activity".

The girls were on a one-week residential trip, accompanied by one teacher with considerable experience and a younger member of staff - a pairing designed to provide experienced supervision and also help train staff. One of the girls got her foot stuck between stones at about 3.25pm on Tuesday and lost her balance when her boot came off. The second girl and one of the teachers tried to steady her but both girls, who wore blue anoraks and green helmets, were swept away.

After holding special assemblies to mark the tragedy yesterday morning, Peter Roberts, the girls' headteacher, was visibly upset but said he was unaware of any hostility from parents.

"We have been doing residentials for 13 years, 2,500 have been involved, and this is the first accident we have had," said Mr Roberts.

The girls, he said, were "delightful students", popular with a wide circle of friends.

Last night, Steve Howe, deputy managing director of the Outward Bound Trust, warned of the hazards of river-walking. He said: "Experience and prior knowledge are essential. In some gorges life-jackets and safety lines may be appropriate."

Schools throughout England with half-term holidays booked have been advised to check travel plans and ensure they have fully assessed the risks.

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