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Inquest begins after 'absolute tragedy'

The inquest into the deaths of two girls who died in the River Wear is due to take place.

Tonibeth Purvis, 15, was reportedly trying to save her friend Chloe Fowler, 14, after she got into difficulty in the river at Washington in July.

Both girls were swept away and their bodies were found by emergency crews.

Police at the time described the incident as "an absolute tragedy".


Police issue fresh warning after river deaths

Police say they are seriously concerned after several children were spotted swimming in the River Wear just a short distance from where two teenagers drowned.

Chloe Fowler and Tonibeth Purvis died almost two weeks ago.

Today, police issued another warning, urging people to stay away from open waters.

It comes as new figures reveal a surge in calls to emergency services for people in trouble in the water.

Full Report: Hundreds turn out to say goodbye to River Wear teens

The family of a teenager who died in the River Wear while trying to save her friend say that nobody is to blame for what happened.

In a message read out to mourners at Tonibeth Purvis' funeral service, they said what happened was a tragic accident and that nobody should live with any guilt.

Hundreds turned out to pay their respects to the 15-year-old from Washington.

Watch the full report from Kenny Toal below.

Parents of River Wear teen: "What happened was just an accident"

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."

– Rev Canon David Glover



Tyneside girl 'died a hero' trying to save friend in river

A teenager died a hero but "most importantly" a friend when she tried in vain to save a girl from a fast-flowing river, the rector conducting her funeral said today.

Tonibeth Purvis has been called a "hero" by the Rector of Holy Trinity Church in Washington, Tyne and Wear
Tonibeth Purvis has been called a "hero" by the Rector of Holy Trinity Church in Washington, Tyne and Wear

Tonibeth Purvis, 15, from Barmston in Washington, Tyne and Wear, and Chloe Fowler, 14, from Shiney Row, near Sunderland, died after getting into difficulties in the River Wear last Tuesday.

It is thought that Chloe got into the river at Fatfield to cool off during the heatwave and, when she started to struggle in the water, other teenagers went in to help her.

The girls' bodies were found hours after a major rescue attempt was launched by the emergency services.

Read the full story on the ITV Tyne Tees website

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