Heartbreaking tributes to ‘angelic and beautiful’ 12-year-old girl who died on beach in tear despite nurse’s heroic attempt to save her
- Family and friends pay tribute to 12-year-old child
- Cienna Jervies perished in ocean rip
- READ MORE: Drowning in a septic tank
There has been an outpouring of love and grief around a 12-year-old girl who tragically died after being torn from a tear while swimming at the edge of a beach popular with holidaymakers.
Friends and family in the town of Clifton Springs on Victoria’s southeast Bellarine Peninsula remember Cienna Jervies as a “much loved, artistic and happy girl” and say their “hearts are broken” by this indescribable tragedy.
The Year 7 student who attended Bellarine Secondary College was known by her affectionate nicknames ‘Cissy’ and ‘Baby Girl’.
She loved music, art, butterflies and shopping with her mother, family and friends said.
Cienna and a 13-year-old friend were swept out to sea by ocean currents off Collendina Beach, a popular caravan and campsite across the peninsula from Clifton Springs, on September 19.
Cienna Jervies (pictured center right with other members of her family) is remembered as a much-loved daughter after her tragic ocean drowning.
Nurse Elise Van Wegen was walking her dog with headphones on when she was stopped by two screaming women begging her to help the two drowning girls.
The 35-year-old man immediately jumped into the waves and swam about 100 meters from shore to reach them.
The mother-of-two explained that she held the girls with her hands but the surf conditions were “just too difficult” and the trio became separated.
“I was holding them with my hands, then the waves separated us all. I could hear her (Cienna) screaming “I’m drowning”, Mrs. Van Wegen.
Despite lifeguards’ efforts to save her, Cienna died on the beach.
She said goodbye during an emotional service at Tuckers Chapel on the Bellarine Highway last Friday.
A GoFund me page has been set up to help pay for Cienna’s funeral costs and ongoing expenses for the Jervies family by friend Zoe Mayne.
“Sissy was a much-loved, artistic, happy, sometimes shy, sometimes bubbly 7th grade girl, sister, cousin, granddaughter, niece and the most loyal best friend anyone could have ” wrote Ms. Mayne.
Cienna was a very important and valued member of the Clifton Springs and Bellarine community.
Despite the heroic efforts of a passing nurse who swam to save her Cienna, she died after being caught in a rip and rough conditions on Victoria’s Collendina beach.
“Cienna’s parents Jodie and Brent are understandably unable to work at the moment, caring for their sons and trying to navigate life and grief.”
The couple also have two boys, Cooper and Cohen.
As of Thursday morning, the page had raised more than $43,000 despite a goal of just $30,000.
Bellarine Salvation Army officer Diane Hobbs said Cienna was a young soldier who was greatly missed by the charity.
“Our hearts are broken and we are in shock,” Ms Hobbs told the Geelong Advertiser.
“Why do we cry? It’s because we loved so deeply.
Ms Hobbs said Cienna’s “footprints” would remain “forever in our lives and hearts”.
Clifton Springs Primary School principal Megan Parker said the school had been shaken by the shocking tragedy.
“On behalf of the school community, we would like to extend our deepest condolences to Cienna’s loving and caring family. They were very close,” she said.
“To Cienna, I would say we will always remember you as the caring, loving, gentle soul that you are.”