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Boy, 17, on school trip drowns in sea after getting into trouble in water at beauty spot beach

A BOY has drowned on a school trip after getting into trouble in the sea at a beauty spot beach.

The unnamed boy, 17, believed to be from London, was pulled from the water at a spot popular with celebrities off the Sussex coast.

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A boy has tragically drowned after getting lost at sea[/caption]

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The boy was airlifted to hospital as distressed classmates watched on[/caption]

It is believed he was one of around 50 pupils on a coach trip to West Wittering on Tuesday morning.

Emergency services scrambled after reports of a child in difficulty at around 1pm on Tuesday.

Other children, believed to be his classmates, were visibly distressed on the beach after he was airlifted to hospital.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “Emergency services and HM Coastguard were called to concerns for a boy’s welfare in the sea off West Wittering beach at around 1pm on Tuesday, July 2.

“A 17-year-old boy was airlifted to hospital, where he was sadly confirmed deceased.

“His next of kin have been informed.

“An investigation is underway to understand the full circumstances of the incident.”

Officers from the Met police broke the news to his parents on Tuesday afternoon.

An ambulance spokesman confirmed the boy was flown direct to hospital by the Coast Guard.

The rolling sand dunes and wide beaches at West Wittering are popular year-round.


The area is also known for its links to celebrities.

It’s home to superstar actress Kate Winslet, and locals have previously included names like Brit actor and singer Michael Ball, actor Nicholas Lyndhurst and Rolling Stones front-man Keith Richards.

According to the local tourist board, a million beach-goers flock to the area each year.

Up to 20,000 people hit West Wittering Beach on single days during peak summer, according to westwittering.co.uk.

Due to its popularity, there are many instances of swimmers getting into trouble at sea.

The website adds that 190 people require lifeguard assistance in the water via rescue board or jet ski rescue every year.

An eyewitness told of “horrendous” scenes as the tragedy unfolded.

Speaking to The Argus, the witness said: “I was at the beach from around 1pm. Suddenly there were loads of police and coastguard.

“I could see lots of upset children and people from what looked like a school trip.

“It was absolutely horrendous. The tide was out at that time.”

West Wittering tragedies

The boy is not the first teenager to have found himself in fatal trouble at the beach in recent years.

In September 2023, Ryan Baldry, 19, went missing at West Wittering after going for a dip with pals.

His body was later found at Hayling Island, halfway between the beach and Portsmouth.

Tragedy also struck in May 2012, when another man, 25, drowned while trying to save a young girl.

Cops said the man – later identified as Plamen Petkov of South London – got the five-year-old to safety, but it cost him his life.

A British citizen originally from Bulgaria, he was posthumously awarded the highest Bulgarian civilian distinction for his “self-sacrifice and courage”.

A sunny day on the English south coast
West Wittering is popular year-round, but in summer can attract 20,000 visitors in one day
Low Tide On The Estuary Flats West Wittering West Sussex UK
There have been multiple tragedies at West Wittering in recent years

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