Northumbria Police said that the families of two girls who died in the River Wear are "completely distraught at what has happened" and added that officers are doing everything possible to support them.
– Northumbria police superintendent Alan Veitch
We are aware there has been some speculation about what has happened but I'd like to emphasise that we are speaking with witnesses to establish exactly what has happened and it's still too early to determine the circumstances.
At this stage we believe a group of friends had been at the riverside and two went into the water and the others tried to help, along with members of the public.
This is an absolute tragedy and our deepest sympathies are with the families of the two girls at what must be a devastating time for them.