Boat ruled out in tragic drowning of two children off Bournemouth Beach

Looking out at sea past Bournemouth Pier

In a heart-rending update to last month’s tragic incident off Bournemouth Beach that claimed the lives of 12-year-old Sunnah Khan and 17-year-old Joseph Abbess and left eight others injured, investigators have ruled out the involvement of a boat. The children drowned, and it’s suggested that a sudden riptide was the cause, a phenomenon common at Bournemouth Pier due to its location.

Following the tragedy, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council had halted all boat operations while the police conducted their investigation. The 78-foot passenger vessel, the Dorset Belle, was impounded and a man in his 40s, who was ‘on the water’ at the time, was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has now confirmed that it will not be launching a formal investigation into the deaths of the two youngsters.

Having conducted a thorough preliminary assessment of the circumstances of this tragic accident the MAIB has decided that no formal investigation will be launched.

MAIB spokesperson

Island Cruises Ltd, the owners of the Dorset Belle, has decided not to return to Bournemouth following the tragic event. A maritime safety expert noted that there was no evidence suggesting the passenger boat was responsible for the deaths.

Inquests into the deaths of Joe Abbess and Sunnah Khan have concluded that they drowned, most likely due to a sudden riptide.

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