Schoolgirl Dies After Falling Off Inflatable Banana Boat At Friend's Birthday Party

13/09/2010 10:22 | Updated 22 May 2015

An 11-year-old girl was killed after being thrown off a banana boat at a friend's party at a lake in west London.

Mari-Simon Cronje is said to have been hurled forwards, crashing into the speedboat which was towing the 20ft inflatable.

The youngster and several of her school friends were celebrating a birthday on the banana boat around a lake used for watersports at the Princes Club in Bedfont, west London, on Saturday afternoon when the accident happened.

Police and paramedics treated her at the scene and Mari-Simon was taken to West Middlesex Hospital, where where died.

Mari-Simon went to school in Roehampton, south west London, where she was a talented hockey player. She lived with her South African-born parents Andries and Ancia, in Putney.

In a statement issued through police, her parents said: 'Our beautiful 11-year-old daughter was killed in a tragic water sports accident on Saturday afternoon.

'We are still battling to come to terms with the news.

The 22-year old watersports instructor who was driving the speedboat was arrested but has since been released on bail, and the club has been closed until further notice.

Banana boating is generally perceived as a 'safe' sport and there is currently no specific legislation to cover the activity. The inflatable usually holds up to 10 people and is pulled along by a speedboat, which makes sudden stops and acelerations so that almost all get thrown off repeatedly and then have to pull themselves back on.

A statement from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said that two people should be in the motorboat and that all riders should wear helmets and a bouyancy aids.

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