Schoolgirl, 15, killed in speedboat accident could not be revived after chest injury


Emily Lewis, 15, died when a high-speed rigid inflatable boat (RIB) crashed into a buoy in choppy conditions while sightseeing on the Solent near Southampton, Hampshire

Emily Lewis, 15, died in a speedboat crash

A 15-year-old schoolgirl who was tragically killed in a speedboat accident could not be revived after sustaining a catastrophic chest injury, an inquest heard today.

Emily Lewis and her family were among 12 people enjoying a ‘sightseeing trip’ on the high-speed rigid inflatable boat when it slammed into a navigational buoy in choppy conditions.

An inquest heard today that the force of the impact meant Emily suffered a fatal blow to the chest and could not be revived despite medics’ efforts.

She died in hospital on Saturday August 22, shortly after the high-speed vessel, run by charter company Seadogz, collided with the buoy as it headed into the Solent from Southampton, Hants.

Seadogz, which describes itself as “the original extreme RIB rental experience,” has been running the trips for about eight years.

The boat was a mutilated wreck after the accident


Solent News & Photo Agency)

Two others were thrown into the water with minor injuries, but the 15-year-old girl, who was on the RIB with her mother Nikki, father Simon and older sister, suffered fatal injuries to the “upper abdomen”.

Mr Lewis suffered bruising while Ms Lewis and Emily’s older sister Amy, 19, broke her arms. Emily, of Park Gate, near Southampton, died at Southampton General Hospital.

Today an inquest into his death opened at Winchester Coroner’s Court, Hants.

Emily was on the boat for a sightseeing excursion


Solent News & Photo Agency)

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

“As a result of the collision, she lost consciousness and unfortunately could not be revived.”

The coroner said an autopsy carried out within days of her death revealed that she had suffered a fatal ‘upper abdominal injury’.

He also said: “I was notified on August 24 of the death of Emily Lewis. She was admitted to Southampton General Hospital on August 22 and her father has made an official identification.

The 15-year-old suffered a fatal ‘upper abdominal injury’


Simon Czapp/Solent News)

“Unfortunately, despite receiving emergency treatment, she died later that day in hospital.

“At the time this inquest was opened, the details are that she resided in Park Gate and was 15 years old.”

Mr Wilkinson has adjourned the inquest until May 5, 2021, when a full investigation will be conducted.

He said he would request hospital records and witness statements from other passengers and family members on board the RIB.

Around 24 hours after the tragedy, Mr Lewis posted a heartfelt tribute to his daughter online.

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

The inquest took place at Winchester Coroner’s Court


Solent News & Photo Agency)

“We were all involved in a boating accident in the Solent and Em suffered severe trauma and died shortly after arriving at hospital.

“Nikki and Amy have had their arms broken and are doing just as well as expected.

“I’m in pain but no break but the emotional pain far exceeds the physical.

“We are all in shock 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.”

Her headmaster also paid tribute to the schoolgirl, describing her as a “brilliant and conscientious” pupil who had a lot of potential.

Stuart Parkes, headmaster of Brookfield School – a secondary school in Locks Heath, near Emily’s home – said the 15-year-old was a “creative soul” who loved textiles and design.

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

“His attention has shown no bounds; from volunteering to support new students to becoming a student leader with aspirations to help shape the education of every student at our school.

“She 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 bright and conscientious student who will be sorely missed by all staff and students at Brookfield.”

The day after his death, a Seadogz manager said he was advised not to comment on the accident when he opened the door to his modern £350,000 three-bedroom home in New Milton, Hants .

Michael Howley, 49, who is listed as the company’s sole director, said: “I can’t talk about it. I was told not to say anything.”


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