THE family of a little girl who was swept to her death in front of her mother at Durdle Door on Wednesday say they are "overwhelmed" with messages of love and support.

The five-year-old was pulled from the water at around 11.30am by Ministry of Defence military range safety vessel which was in the area and responded to mayday calls. However, she was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.

The girl’s mum, who is in her 30s and lives in Salisbury, was rescued from the water by a member of the public.

A fundraising page has now been set up to support the family.

In a message posted online, the girl's grandmother said their pain is "so raw".

"Thank you so much for your messages of love and support," she said.

"We are so thankful for all your prayers at this difficult time."

Official have urged swimmers to stay safe in the sea in the wake of the tragedy.

Steve Instance, community safety partner for the charity, said: “We’d like to remind people that the conditions around the coast can change quickly and still be challenging, and should you go in the water intentionally or unintentionally, the sea is extremely cold at this time of year, making cold water shock a real danger.

“We want people to enjoy the coastline and we are urging people to respect the water and take extra care when visiting the coast by taking some basic precautions.

“Plan your activity – check the weather and tide conditions before going to sea, and make sure your equipment is all in working order.

“Carry a means of calling for help should something go wrong, know your capabilities and make sure you wear the necessary safety equipment for your chosen activity.”

Lifeguards will be stationed at Boscombe East, Bournemouth East, Bournemouth West and Sandbanks for the summer.

Police are calling for anyone who witnessed how the girl came to be in the water to contact officers if they have not already done so. Those who may have filmed or photographed the incident should also get in touch.

Inspector Steve May, of Dorset Police, said: "At this time there is nothing to suggest this was anything other than a tragic accident.

"However, with the sudden death of any child, we have an obligation to carry out an investigation to establish the full circumstances of what happened."

To contact police, visit or call 101, quoting 18:127.

To support the child's family, visit