BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: England  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Thursday, 24 October, 2002, 15:42 GMT 16:42 UK
'Sad, tragic' case of girl's drowning
Burnham-on-Sea
The youngster died during a day out on the beach
A five-year-old girl who became trapped in mudflats at Burnham-on-Sea died after becoming overwhelmed by the incoming tide, an inquest has heard.

Lelaina Hall from Worcester was on holiday with her family last June, when the accident happened.

Lelaina became stranded by in-coming waters during a day on the beach.

She was airlifted to hospital in Weston-super-Mare but died hours later.


I knew in my gut from that moment on that I had lost my little girl

Caroline Hall
At an inquest which opened on Thursday in Taunton, the coroner described the death as "a sad, tragic case".

The stretch of coastline had the second highest rise and fall of tide in the world, he told the jury.

The sea could go out as much as a mile and a half.

Lelaina's mother Caroline Hall told the inquest her daughter had been looking forward to the day at the seaside and ran out to the sea immediately.

But she ran out too far and soon got into difficulties, she said.

Mrs Hall's boyfriend Laurence Boyle ran after her but the rescue proved impossible.

"My footing was becoming increasingly difficult and I was sticking in the mud," he told the inquest.

Lelaina Hall
Lelaina was excited about her seaside visit
"I was more than very worried by this stage, I was fearful of what may be happening. I was getting to the stage where every step was becoming an effort."

Mr Boyle said that when he eventually reached the water's edge he could no longer either move himself or see Lelaina.

The inquest heard how Lelaina's mother alerted the beach wardens, who in turn called the coastguard.

Mrs Hall said she watched in horror as her daughter became trapped by the incoming tide before disappearing from view completely.

"To me it looked like she had fallen over and I knew in my gut from that moment on that I had lost my little girl," she said.

Warning signs

The inquest heard how when the helicopter arrived 20 minutes later the crew spent half an hour looking for Lelaina in the sea, before deciding to rescue Mr Boyle.

Shortly afterwards they spotted the five-year-old's body face down in the water nearby, winched her into the helicopter and attempted to resuscitate her.

She died later at Weston General Hospital.

Mr Boyle, of Kidderminster, told the hearing that he had not seen any warning signs or leaflets about the dangers of walking on the beach.

"I cannot recall any warning signs at all," he said.

The hearing continues.


Click here to go to BBC Hereford and Worcester
See also:

24 Jun 02 | England
10 Jun 02 | Wales
22 May 02 | England
04 Apr 02 | England
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more England stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes