'She made us smile' first pictures of tragic girl, 11, who drowned at Berkshire water park


The friends of Kyra Hill, 11, have said she was a “sweet and caring friend” who “liked to make people smile”. Kyra had reportedly been taking on a giant inflatable assault course with around ten friends at Liquid Leisure Windsor in Datchet, Berks, when suddenly she seemed to vanish under the surface. Chaos ensued as the alarm was raised at around 3.40pm.

Parents and staff launched a desperate search to find her, leading around 40 adults to dive into the lake. Meanwhile, lifeguards had to borrow goggles from guests to search under the inflatables, as they apparently lacked any diving equipment.

Emergency services arrived at 3.55pm and two helicopters circled above as police and firefighters tried to find her. Kyra was not found until 5.10pm. She was taken to Wexham Park Hospital – but could not be saved.

One 12-year-old, who played football with the schoolgirl, told the Mail Online: “Kyra was so kind. She was really smart, she was at the top of all our classes. She liked to make people smile, she cared about people.”

The pal said Kyra played for Coombe Wood School in Croydon, and was said to be a big Manchester United supporter.

Meanwhile, a mum of one of her other classmates broke down in tears, saying: “She was such a sweet girl.”

The mum of the girl whose birthday it was reportedly checked whether all her daughter’s friends could swim before inviting them to Liquid Leisure. The waterpark also states everyone must confirm they are strong swimmers before letting them in the water, and provides life jackets for inflatables.

A 32-year-old mum who had been among the visitors that day, said: “There didn’t seem to be a single adult in charge. It was horrendous. One of the lifeguards said he didn’t want to get in because he didn’t want to get his trainers wet. Some were screaming to get goggles.”

Another witness, who was at the park with her kids, told Sky News the little girl was seen going under the water and “didn’t come back up”.

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Police are now investigating Kyra’s death, which is being treated as unexplained. In a statement posted on Facebook on Sunday, the attraction said it would be closed.

Local policing area commander Supt Michael Greenwood said: “My thoughts are with the family and friends of the girl who has died as a result of this tragic incident. We are in the early stages of investigating this incident to understand the full circumstances.

He added: “This has been an extremely traumatic and upsetting incident for all involved.

“I am aware that several members of the public entered the lake shortly after the girl got into difficulty, but were unable to locate her. I would like to commend them for their courage and bravery.

“My sincere condolences are with the girl’s family and friends, and I would ask that their privacy is respected at this incredibly traumatic and distressing time for them.”

A Liquid Leisure statement said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and all those affected by this desperately tragic and upsetting incident. As Thames Valley Police are in the early stages of the investigation, it would not be right for us to add a further comment, but we will continue to fully support and assist them throughout the process.”



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