No boat was involved in the tragic drownings of two children off Bournemouth beach, it was announced today.
The Maritime Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) will not launch a formal investigation into the deaths of Joe Abbess, 17, and Sunnah Khan, 12.
Dorset Police have impounded the 78-foot passenger liner Dorset Belle after the May 31 tragedy.
They also arrested a man in his 40s who was “in the water” at the time of the suspected homicide.
It was suggested that the water from the pleasure boat as it left Bournemouth Pier that afternoon may have caused dangerous sea conditions which led to 10 youngsters getting into difficulties, including Sunnah and Joe.
But a spokesperson for the government agency said: “Having made a thorough preliminary assessment of the circumstances of this tragic accident, the MAIB has decided that no formal investigation will be launched.
“This was a truly tragic accident, but we understand the circumstances did not involve a vessel and therefore it is not something the branch would investigate.”
The BCP Council has halted all boat operations from the pier ‘as a precautionary measure’.
Island Cruises Ltd, the owners of the Dorset Belle, have already vowed never to return to Bournemouth after the tragedy.
A maritime safety expert said there was no evidence the passenger ship was to blame for the deaths and the most obvious explanation for what happened was a rip current, which is common at Bournemouth pier due to its location. .
The expert, who preferred to remain anonymous, said: “Rip currents are known to be common on any stretch of open water facing the sea that has a prevailing wind blowing onto a south-facing beach and quicksand.
“Anytime you have a pier on a beach, it’s inevitable that there will be a lot of rip currents. Because a commercial vessel was in the vicinity of the incident, it is normal for it to have been seized while they investigate.
“But the vessel would have been heavily regulated by the Coastguard and Maritime Agency with an experienced crew. The design of her means that she does not have underwater suction and does not maneuver with jet propulsion, so no theory about the jet wash causing the incident applies.