Schoolgirl inquest: rescuers did all they could

A coroner's said nothing more could have been done to save Stella Akanbi, despite the best conditions for rescue teams in Clacton.

The 10 year old from Milton Keynes drowned after she and a friend got into difficulty while swimming in the sea on August 17th 2009.

Stella had travelled to the beach with her friend's family for the day, but the two girls were spotted struggling in the water on the Sunday afternoon.

Several members of the public tried to help, including Robert Joyce and his 12 year old son. Robert managed to save Stella's friend, and even had Stella on his back a one point, before she slipped and disappeared under the water.

Rescue teams say the conditions were they best they could have asked for - a sunny day, low wind, flat sea and 3 to 4 miles visibility - but despite a huge search involving 2 helicopters and 4 lifeboat crews, there was no sign of Stella.

Searches resumed the following day, and a police helicopter spotted Stella's body in the water about 50 metres from the shore on Monday afternoon and she was picked up by lifeboat crews.

Today the coroner Ms Lorna Tagliavini praised the efforts of rescue teams and members of the public for their "brave actions" risking their own lives to do all they could to save Stella.

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