LEADERS have expressed their sadness after two children had died following an incident at Bournemouth beach. 

A 12-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy died in hospital yesterday afternoon with “critical injuries” sustained in the water off Bournemouth Pier. 

Police have arrested a man in his 40s, who was said to be “on the water” at the time, on suspicion of manslaughter. 

READ MORE: Girl, 12, and boy, 17, die after incident in water off Bournemouth Pier

Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns told the Echo: "My thoughts are with the family and friends of these two young people whose lives have been so tragically cut short.

"That this happened when they were enjoying our wonderful seafront only adds to the sense of waste.

"I don’t want to in any way prejudice the enquiry that is ongoing. However, as a general principle it serves as a reminder to everyone that the sea is a beautiful yet dangerous thing.

"Everyone enjoying time there either in or on the water has an obligation to do so safely and respecting others.

"I’m sure lessons will want to be learned and we should listen to advice on use of motorised craft close to our bathing and pier areas is turns out that played any part in these needless deaths.

Bournemouth Echo: Conor BurnsConor Burns (Image: Daily Echo)

Read more: Bournemouth beach: Girl and boy die after incident in sea

Dorset's police and crime commissioner David Sidwick said: "Terribly sad news that two young people have died at Bournemouth Beach today, my thoughts are with their family and all the rescue services who were involved."

BCP Council leader Cllr Vikki Slade added: “We are heartbroken to hear the news that two young people rescued at Bournemouth Beach earlier today have died, and our thoughts are with their family and all those involved in the rescue.”

Bournemouth Echo: Air ambulance on the beachAir ambulance on the beach (Image: BNPS)

The circumstances of the two children’s deaths remain unclear and police, along with the Marine Accident Investigation Branch and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, are investigating. 

Eight other people, believed to be children, were treated by the ambulance service for injuries that are not life-threatening. 

Masses of people watched yesterday afternoon on as a multi-agency response was launched, with police cordoning off much of the Pier Approach. 

Witnesses saw lifeguards perform CPR on people on the beach. 

Bournemouth Echo: Two children have diedTwo children have died (Image: BNPS)

Detective Chief Superintendent Neil Corrigan, of Dorset Police, said: “Our thoughts are with the loved ones of the young people who tragically died and we are doing all we can to support their families. 

“I understand the beach was very busy at the time of the incident and I would ask anyone with information that may assist our enquiries to please come forward. 

“We are at the early stages of our investigation and would ask people not to speculate about the circumstances surrounding the incident.” 

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk or by calling 101, quoting occurrence number 55230083818. 

Alternatively, independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously online at Crimestoppers-uk.org or by calling Freephone 0800 555 111.