Sunderland Area Command Superintendent Alan Veitch said: "What happened on Tuesday, July 23, was a tragic accident and our thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of Chloe Fowler and Toni-Beth Purvis.
"The loss of any life is horrendous but the tragic deaths of these two young girls was particularly devastating for everyone involved.
"The circumstances emergency services faced at the scene that evening were extremely dangerous and challenging, with that particular section of the River Wear being fast flowing and filled with hidden hazards.
"Those who helped in the search for the two girls did everything they could to try and save them and I'd like to thank everyone who assisted in the search operation for their brave efforts.
"The role of an emergency service worker - be it police, fire or ambulance - is filled with difficult situations and challenges however the loss of a young person's life is, and will always be, particularly distressing."
An inquest into the drowning of two teenage girls in the River Wear has recorded a verdict of accidental death.
Chloe Fowler (14) and Tonibeth Purvis (15) drowned after getting into problems in the river in July.
Chloe experienced problems while swimming, Tonibeth died trying to save her.
The Coroner said "These events were traumatic at the time and remain so today. They touched the families and the communities... Both were overwhelmed by the river and died despite thedetermined efforts of family, friends, and emergency services."
The inquest into the deaths of two teenagers, who died in the River Wear, is set to continue. 15-year-old Tonibeth Purvis, from Barmston in Washington, and 14-year-old Chloe Fowler, from Shiney Row, died in July.
The funeral of 15-year-old Tonibeth Purvis, who died in the River Wear last week while trying to save her friend Chloe Fowler, has taken place in her hometown of Washington.
In a eulogy delivered by the Rev Canon David Glover, he said:
"One thing that has profoundly moved me in this is that Tonibeth's parents want it made clear that that what happened was just an accident - no one was to blame - no one should live with any guilt about this.
"This was just a tragic accident.
"But if there is any consolation for you it may be in the fact that Tonibeth died trying to help her friend.
"She died a hero but most important she died a friend."