A British girl has died after being hit by a speedboat believed to have been driven by a police chief who was not on duty in Albania.
Seven-year-old Jonada Avdia was fatally injured while swimming with her father at Potami beach in Himara.
The youngster, from Barking, east London, was on holiday with her family in her parents’ country of birth.
Arjan Tase, believed to be a police commissioner for the city of Elbasan, was arrested after the horrific accident on Tuesday afternoon.
He was due to appear in court today charged with manslaughter as angry protests erupted calling for the country’s prime minister to resign following a series of crashes on the Albanian coast.
Investigators allege he was maneuvering dangerously close to shore in the borrowed RIB-style boat and lost control.
Jonada was swimming about 15ft when she was hit by the speedboat in front of horrified onlookers.
Professor Bislim Ahmetaj has shared a moving post on social media revealing a heartbreaking conversation he had with the girl’s distraught father, Bledar.
The grieving father told her he was holding his daughter’s hand when she was hit and said: ‘I should have died and not Jonada’.
An Albanian police watchdog, the Police Monitoring Agency, said Tase was driving the boat from Porto Palermo towards Potami with members of his family also on board.
He added that the entire chain of command of the local Directorate of Borders and Migration in Vlora – which is responsible for preventing accidents in the coastal area – has been fired.
Police chief Gledis Nano fired a total of 15 people, saying he “would not tolerate any policeman, chief or enforcer, who fails to rigorously and honestly carry out his functional duties, in the interest of protecting of the lives of citizens”.
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Interior Ministry in the capital Tirana yesterday to demand better security and protection for beaches.
Protesters also called for the resignation of Minister Bledi Çuçi, Police Director General Gladis Nano and Tourism Minister Mirela Kumbaro.
Hundreds of candles and flowers were placed where Jonada lost his life, as well as in front of the prime minister’s office.
The girl’s family are said to have lived in the UK for the past two decades and Jonada was born in London.
This is the third speedboat accident reported on the Albanian coast this summer.
A couple were rushed to hospital last month after being hit by a speedboat in Jale, while two days later another seven-year-old was rushed to the emergency room following an accident outboard.