‘Dorset Belle’: Everything we know about impounded sightseeing boat after Bournemouth beach deaths

Pleasure boat remains cordoned off by police on Friday

Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Tuesday 06 June 2023 14:05 BST
Bournemouth beach packed with tourists one day after children died in tragic accident

A sightseeing boat was impounded by police after two children died in a tragic sea incident in Bournemouth this week.

A 12-year-old girl and 17-year-old boy died after suffering critical injuries during the incident near the Pier on Wednesday.

Eight others were pulled from the water but none of their conditions were life-threatening.

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A day after the incident, forensic officers were seen onboard the sightseeing boat, the Dorset Belle, at Cobb’s Quay, Poole Harbour.

Dorset Police said that no physical contact was made between the swimmers and any vessel or jet-ski and those involved had not been jumping off the pier.

The force has declined to comment on any investigation into the Dorset Belle and refused to say what or if any vessel was involved.

A police source had earlier told The Sun: “This vessel is under a police cordon. No one is permitted onboard or to touch the vessel.”

A cruise boat called the Dorset Belle which has been impounded at Cobb’s Quay Marina in Poole, Dorset

The Dorset Belle is a pleasure boat that offers short cruises from Bournemouth Pier.

According to the website Marine Traffic, on the day of the incident, the Dorset Belle left Bournemouth Pier at 4pm and returned to the pier at 4.38pm, shortly after ambulance services requested assistance near the pier at 4.32pm.

The boat then sailed to Hamworthy later that evening and was impounded at Cobb’s Quay in Poole on Thursday at 6.30pm.

Map shows the Dorset Belle left Bournemouth pier at 4pm and returned to the pier shortly after the incident at 4.38pm

The passenger boat usually travels to closeby destinations such as Brownsea Island, Poole and Swanage but can also go as far out as Southampton, Weymouth and the Isle Of Wight. The cruise around Dorset Coast usually takes around 40 minutes.

The last sail of the day is at 5pm - shortly before the tragic incident occurred.

In response to the intense speculation that has surrounded the incident, the father of one of the eight survivors addressed the rumours on Thursday night.

A group of people inspecting the cabin of the Dorset Belle cruise boat

Father of Lauren Tate, 18, told MailOnline: “We’ve seen all the stuff about boats and jet skis but it wasn’t like that. She was swimming in the sea with her friends when the rip tide took them out.

“She was lucky to get pulled from the sea by the coastguard and one of her other friends was rescued by a paddleboarder.”

Meanwhile, Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood called on police to clarify the circumstances around the two deaths to end “wild speculation”.

He said: “There needs to be a review, the police are conducting their investigation, there needs to be a review of the circumstances to see whether any safety measures and protocols need to be upgraded to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future.

“I encourage Dorset Police to clarify the general circumstances of this tragic accident to avoid further wild speculation and uncertainty for parents who may be cautious about going to any part of the beach, unclear of exactly what happened in this terrible incident.”

A man aged in his 40s who was “on the water” at the time of the incident was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and was released under investigation on Thursday while police inquiries continue.

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