London

Family of boat death girl mourn 'beautiful' daughter

Mari-Simon Cronje
Image caption Mari-Simon had been at a children's birthday party at the centre

The family of an 11-year-old girl killed in a boating accident at a watersports centre have paid tribute to their "beautiful" daughter.

Mari-Simon Cronje, from London, died after an accident during a children's birthday party at Princes Club, Bedfont, west London, on Saturday.

She was airlifted to West Middlesex Hospital but died there later.

Mari-Simon's family said she had been a party guest and they were "battling to come to terms with the news".

"We would ask the press and public to respect the family's privacy and let us grieve in peace," their statement added.

'Banana' boat

A man aged 22, thought to be the boat driver, was arrested after the incident and later bailed.

The BBC has spoken to an eyewitness who believes there was no spotter on board the boat towing the inflatable "banana" from which Mari-Simon is understood to have fallen.

The Metropolitan Police said officers were investigating the details surrounding the death.

It is believed the 11-year-old was one of a group of children riding the inflatable on one of the lakes at the site.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe safety rules governing water sports

She is understood to have been struck by the tow boat as it performed a sharp turn.

A post-mortem examination is expected to be carried out tomorrow.

The Princes Club, which closed after the incident so investigations could be carried out, said in a statement: "Princes Sporting Club and everyone associated with it is devastated by the accident that occurred.

"At this terrible time our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with Mari-Simon Cronje's family and friends.

"The accident is being investigated by the police and other authorities and they can rely on our complete co-operation."

Police said officers from the Specialist Crime Directorate were investigating, alongside investigators from the Department for Transport's Maritime Accident Investigation Branch.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites