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Imie Harrison died after falling into the canal in Kidderminster last night
11:52am Wednesday 20th March 2013 in News
A FAMILY has been left “absolutely devastated” after the tragic death of a six-year-old girl who fell into a canal.
Imie Harrison had been playing with friends when three children fell into the water in Spingfield Park, near the Wolverley Court Lock, in Kidderminster, just before 6.20pm on Tuesday evening.
Her friends, also believed to be six, managed to get themselves out of the canal but Imie was in the water for some time before being rescued and suffered a cardiac arrest.
Despite resuscitation attempts by West Midlands Ambulance Service at the scene, she was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Superintendent Kevin Purcell, police commander in North Worcestershire, said: "The family of the six-year-old are absolutely devastated by their loss and I would ask that their privacy is respected at this time.”
He added that officers were working hard to establish exactly how she came to fall into the water.
Neighbours were described as “shocked” and “devastated” as they watched emergency services battling to save the little girl.
Jonathon Waring, of The Foxholes, said: “There was a lot of police and fire engines coming along the Stourbridge Road, then we heard the police helicopter flying very low and it landed on Springfield Park. It dropped two people off and they ran across the field.
“I went down to have a look and there was a lot of ambulance and police and fire crews everywhere and by the canal crossing.
“I thought it was a manhunt because so many were there. I went up to Wolverley and there were officers up there as well.
“Residents were telling us that a little girl had fallen in. A lot of people had come out of their houses and were stood on their driveways. Everyone was very shocked and devastated about what was going on.
“We were very concerned and worried about the little girl.
“Some people were saying why are there no fences by the canal but then you cannot fence a whole canal off.”
The two children who fell in the water at the same time as Imie were treated for hypothermia and taken to Worcestershire Royal Hospital.
They are both expected to make a full recovery.
Gail Quinton, director of children's services for Worcestershire County Council, expressed her deepest sympathy for the girl’s family and friends following the tragic death.
“Children's Services are working very closely with the police to support the investigation and also the school to support pupils and staff at this very sad and difficult time.”
Headteacher at Imie’s school, Lawrence Gittins, said the whole school community at St John’s CE Primary School were deeply saddened and shocked at the loss.
“She was a much loved and talented girl and we will miss her very much,” he said.
“At this time our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Imie and all of the pupils and staff who knew her at school.
“We will offer all the support we possibly can to all those affected and are grateful to St John’s Church, the local authority [Worcestershire County Council] and the diocese for the help they are offering.
“Our focus now is to help family, friends and our whole community through this difficult time. We would appreciate you respecting our privacy to give us the space to enable us to do this.”