London boat ride death girl 'died of leg injuries'

Mari-Simon Cronje
Image caption Mari-Simon was attending a birthday party

A girl killed in a boating accident at a watersports centre died from severe leg injuries, tests have revealed.

Mari-Simon Cronje, 11, from London, was attending a children's birthday party at Princes Club, Bedfont, west London, when the accident happened on Saturday.

It is thought she fell off an inflatable banana boat ride and was thrown into the propeller of a speedboat. She died later in hospital.

A 22-year-old man has been arrested and bailed until later this month.

Mari-Simon's family described her as "beautiful" and said 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.

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 during a birthday party on one of the lakes at the site.

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Media captionThe safety rules governing water sports

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

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."

The boat that was towing the inflatable and the inflatable have been taken away for inspection.

Safety recommendations

Police said officers from the Specialist Crime Directorate were investigating, as are investigators from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch.

There are no official safety rules for boating activities involving inflatables, which means it is up to each club to set its own guidelines.

But the British Ski and Wakeboard Federation does provide a total of 38 safety recommendations - 26 for the boat driver and 12 for the rider.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has guidance on enclosed lakes, adventure activity licensing and buoyancy aids but none specifically for inflatables.

It said, contrary to popular belief, inflatables were not licensable.

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