Mother who witnessed Bournemouth incident says 'no beach visit will ever be the same'

  • Mother Eeman Qamar says the incident was traumatic to witness

A mother who was visiting Bournemouth beach when a group of people were pulled from the sea in what turned into a tragic incident says no beach visit will ever be the same again.

Eeman Qamar from Southampton was having a day out with her baby and mother on Wednesday (31 May).

In a multi emergency services operation, ten people were recovered from the water. Two people, a 17-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl were taken to hospital, but they later died of their injuries.

Mrs Qamar was sat on a blanket near the waterfront, when a lifeguard started putting red flags up in the sand, and asking people to vacate the area.

"Within seconds another coastguard came running over and asked us to leave the area and move onto the other side," she said.

"Then another coastguard came and she asked me to hurry up as there has been a major incident.

The air ambulance at the scene at Bournemouth beach on Wednesday. Credit: Eeman Qamar

"My first concern was the safety of my baby, and I was told there was an air ambulance landing very soon, so to make sure I cover the eyes of the baby as there would be a lot of sand around.

"And that all they can say is that there is a major incident.

"They were trying to move hundreds of people in minutes, so it was chaos, and there was a lot of panic."

Eeman said the mood suddenly changed and everyone was concerned.

"Everyone's faces were just full of worry and we were all praying for the safety for whoever was in distress."

Eeman Qamar admits returning to Bournemouth would give her 'flashbacks'

A former GP and A&E doctor who was also visiting Bournemouth beach when the group were pulled from the sea has praised the 'exceptional' young lifeguards who were on duty.

Dr Rob Rosa, who now works as a Chief Medical Officer, was at the beach when emergency services were called to the scene.

Dr Rosa offered to help lifeguards who were attending to one of the casualties.

Speaking to ITV Meridian, he said: "They were performing CPR and working hard on the casualty.

"The lifeguards, many of whom where young adults, were magnificent in how they coped, they were not distressed, they calmly went about their direction and quickly did everything asked of them.

"They were exceptional in an exceptional circumstance. I wanted to highlight their efforts on a life-defining day for all of them."

Dorset Police and Fire and Rescue Service have also praised all the emergency services who responded to the incident.

A man aged in his 40s, who was on the water at the time, has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter, and remains in custody.

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