Tributes were paid to a “kind and compassionate” 15-year-old girl who died in a speedboat accident, as police continued to call for witnesses to the drama in Southampton Water.
Emily Lewis, 15, was among 12 people taken to hospital after the rigid inflatable boat collided with a buoy off the Hampshire coast on Saturday. She was pronounced dead in hospital.
In a statement released by police on Monday, Emily’s family said: “Our beautiful daughter passed away on Saturday. We have suffered from broken bones, but the emotional pain far exceeds the physical pain.
“We are all shocked that our beautiful daughter and sister is no longer with us, and words just don’t seem available to express our deep sense of loss.”
The collision happened shortly after 10:10 a.m. on Saturday, Hampshire Police said. It is understood that Emily’s father, Simon, mother Nikki and 19-year-old sister Amy were also on the boat, and her mother and sister had their arms broken.
Stuart Parkes, the principal of Brookfield School in Fareham, Hampshire, where Emily was a student, said: “Emily was a kind and compassionate young woman who cared deeply for those around her.
“His attention showed no limits; from volunteering to support new students to becoming a student leader with aspirations to help shape the education of every student in our school.
“He was a creative soul who loved textiles and design and showed great potential. She was motivated and dedicated to her studies, a positive example for all.
“Emily was a brilliant and conscientious student who will be sadly missed by all staff and students at Brookfield.”
Conditions at Southampton Water were very difficult on Saturday due to strong spring tides combined with strong winds.
Police said all other passengers had been hospitalized, some with serious injuries. Emily’s family is supported by specialist agents.
The Hampshire force said it was investigating the circumstances of the collision and continued to call for any information or footage that could help.
Detectives are eager to hear from those on a ferry heading to East Cowes on the Isle of Wight from Southampton at 10 a.m. or anyone else who was on the water in between Netley Abbey and Hythe Pier around the same time.
Anyone with information is urged to contact police on 101 citing Operation Orange, or submit visually recorded information and evidence through its public major incidents portal.