Girl, 15, died in speedboat crash after suffering catastrophic abdominal injury when it hit buoy on 'sightseeing trip'

A GIRL who died in a speedboat crash suffered a catastrophic abdominal injury when it hit a buoy on a "sightseeing trip", an inquest heard today.

Emily Lewis, 15, and her family were among 12 people enjoying a 'sightseeing trip' on the high speed Rigid Inflatable Boat after it set off to The Solent from Southampton, Hants.


The boat then smashed into a navigation buoy during choppy conditions.

An inquest today heard the force of the impact meant Emily suffered a fatal blow to her abdomen and could not be revived.

She died in hospital on August 22, shortly after the high-speed vessel, run by charter firm Seadogz, collided with the buoy.

Seadogz, which describes itself as 'The Original Extreme RIB Charter Experience', has been running the trips for around eight years.

Two others were flung into the water, suffering minor injuries, but Emily -who was on the RIB boat with her mother Nikki, father Simon and older sister Amy, 19 – suffered fatal "upper abdominal" injuries.

Mr Lewis suffered bruising while Mrs Lewis and Amy both suffered broken arms. Emily, from Park Gate, near Southampton, died at Southampton General Hospital.

An inquest into her death was opened at Winchester Coroner's Court, Hants today.

During the five-minute hearing, Coroner Christopher Wilkinson said: "The brief circumstances of the death are that she was a passenger on board a boat on a sightseeing trip on Southampton Water when it was involved in a collision.

"As a result of the collision, she was rendered unconscious and sadly she was unable to be revived."

The coroner said a post-mortem carried out in the days after her death revealed she suffered a fatal "upper abdominal injury".

Mr Wilkinson adjourned the inquest until May 5 next year, when a full inquest will be carried out.

He said he will be requesting hospital records and witness statements from fellow passengers and family members on board the RIB.

FATHER'S TRIBUTE

A day after the tragedy, Mr Lewis posted a heartfelt tribute to his daughter online.

He said: "Nikki and I need to share some very tragic news today. Our beautiful daughter Emily passed away yesterday.

“We were all involved in a boating accident in the Solent and Em suffered serious trauma and died not long after we got to hospital.

“Nikki and Amy suffered broken arms and are doing as well as expected.

“I have pain but no breaks but the emotional pain far outways the physical.

“We are all in shock that our beautiful daughter and sister is no longer with us and words just don't seem to be available to express our deep sense of loss.”

Her headteacher also paid tribute to the schoolgirl, describing her as a "bright and conscientious" student who had lots of potential.

Stuart Parkes, headteacher at Brookfield School – a secondary school in Locks Heath, near Emily's home – said Emily was a 'creative soul' who enjoyed textiles and design.

He said: "Emily was a kind and compassionate young lady who cared deeply about those around her.

“Her caring showed no bounds; from volunteering to support new students through to becoming a student leader with aspirations to help shape the education of every student in our school.

“She was a creative soul who loved textiles and design and who showed great potential. She was motivated and dedicated to her studies, a positive example to all.

“Emily was a bright, conscientious student who will be sorely missed by all staff and students at Brookfield.”

The day after her death, Seadogz director Michael Howley said he had been advised not to comment on the accident.

Mr Howley, 49, said: “I can’t talk about this. I have been told not to say anything.”



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