An 11-year old girl has died while ‘rock pooling’ at the seaside after falling 30ft down a mine shaft and into a cave, police said today.
The youngster was exploring rocks with her family when she fell into an ‘adit’ – a disused entrance to a mine – and landed in a water-filled cavern below.
Some of the 12,000 holidaymakers on the packed beach then formed a human chain to pluck her out of the cave unconscious.
She was treated at the scene by paramedics and airlifted to hospital but died of her injuries several hours later.
The girl, from Andover in Hampshire, fell into the mine shaft at at Droskyn Point, near Perranporth, Cornwall.
RNLI lifeguard manager Steve Instance described the death as a ”tragic and terrifying” accident.
He said: ”It is believed that she was climbing around an adit, which is an entrance to a mine.
”There are a few exposed at low tide on the left hand side of Perranporth beach. She fell around 10m into water at the bottom of the shaft.
”The public started a rescue attempt by making a human chain at a lower adit into the same shaft.
”They then handed her unconscious to the lifeguards. She was unconscious and not breathing while receiving first aid at the scene.
”Police and volunteer coastguard teams were also on the scene and helped the RNLI lifeguards clear a landing area on the beach for the air ambulance.”
The girl had been exploring rock pools when it is believed she climbed higher onto rocks at the bottom of an exposed cliff face.
It is thought she was around 15ft (4.5m) up a rock face when she fell about 30ft (9m) into a water-filled cave at 1.15pm on Wednesday.
Mr Instance added: ”She was unconscious and not breathing. The RNLI lifeguards were joined by two other colleagues and an off duty paramedic and began to administer CPR.
”Police and volunteer coastguard teams from St Agnes were also on the scene and helped the RNLI lifeguards clear a landing area on the beach for the air ambulance.
”RNLI lifeguards from Perran Sands came to supervise the bathing area.
The air ambulance airlifted the girl to hospital.”
Emergency services were called and she was airlifted to the Royal Cornwall Hospital at Treliske in a critical condition but died around 10pm the same day.
A police spokesman said: ”On arrival officers discovered an 11 year old girl, who was with her family, had fallen through a gap in a cliff into a water filled cave.
”A Police Community Support Officer was quickly in attendance along with beach lifeguards before further help form the other emergency services arrived.
”The girl was airlifted to Treliske Hospital where at 10pm she tragically passed away. A file on the incident is being prepared for the coroner.”