THE young girl who was swept to her death by while paddling in the sea with her mum has been named locally as Rose Carter.

The five-year-old was playing at the water’s edge alongside her mother when a huge wave suddenly knocked them over and dragged them into the sea at Durdle Door on Wednesday morning.

A fisherman ran into the sea up to his waist and managed to grab the woman but other members of the public were unable to reach her daughter due to the five foot waves and powerful ebb tide.

A MoD military range safety boat that was in the area found the girl about 100 yards from the shore within five minutes of her being pulled in. But despite efforts to resuscitate her by a lifeboat crew and ambulance paramedics she later died in hospital.

Her distraught mother and older sister were comforted by members of the public on the beach before being led away by an ambulance crew.

Tee Medway, 46, from Southampton, said:”The mum and younger daughter were dragged in by one wave and then a second wave came and grabbed them both. A man who was fishing rushed in and grabbed the mum who was screaming. He went in up to his waist and grabbed hold of her and she had cuts and grazes.

“But the little girl didn’t stand a chance. Another wave came in and pulled her out so fast.”

Staff members and visitors to Durdle Door and the nearby campsite have told of their shock at the girl's death.

"It's so sad, and on such a beautiful day," said Jo Muir, manager of the campsite shop.

"Luckily these things don't happen often at all. It's one of those accidents - it's sad, and we hope we don't see it ever again."

Sarah Cooke said she was upset to hear of the tragedy.

"I am really surprised," said Ms Cooke, who had travelled down from Bristol with her dog and teenage daughter.

"You don't expect things like that to happen here - it's so peaceful. We love it here."

Another holidaying couple, Bob and Paula Vickers from the North Cotswolds, said they had been at Lulworth Cove at the time of the incident the day before, but had noticed the search-and-rescue helicopter and other emergency vehicles.

"The sea was so rough," said Mr Vickers. "We saw a guy get forced out of his canoe onto the rocks by the waves - they were coming in really strong, even though the weather was still."

Police are investigating the full circumstances of the incident. However, Inspector Steve May, of Dorset Police, said: "At this time there is nothing to suggest this was anything other than a tragic accident."

Anyone with information should visit or call 101, quoting 18:127.

A fundraising appeal has been established to support Rose's family. It has already raised more than £5,000. To donate, visit