The twin brother of a six-year-old girl who died after falling into a canal near Kidderminster battled to save her in the moments after the tragic accident, police today said.
Officers have launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Imie Harrison who died yesterday evening.
Imie, from the nearby Springfields Park area, had been playing with three other children when she fell into the water near the Wolverley Court Lock, on the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, in Wolverley.
Police were called after three children fell into the canal at around 6.20pm.
Two of the youngsters were able to get out of the water but Imie could not save herself.
It is understood that she had been playing by the canal with her brother and two other six-year-olds.
Police today said her brother raised the alarm and with the help of PCSOs and members of the public they made attempts to get Imie out of the water.
Superintendent Kevin Purcell, Police Commander in North Worcestershire, said officers worked her for an hour and 20 minutes to try to resuscitate Imie.
“We understand that the four children were playing near to the water and an incident has occurred where two of them have ended up in the water,” he said at this morning’s press conference.
“A third child went in to try and save them. Imie was in the water for a very short space of time, however details of the exact time are difficult to establish at the moment because the children involved are very young.”
West Midlands Ambulance Service today said Imie was taken to Birmingham Children’s Hospital but later died.
A police car remained at the scene today at Springfield Park close to The Lock Inn and tearoom off the B4189.
Numerous police officers were speaking to residents nearby as they tried to establish the circumstances of the accident.
Supt Purcell added: “This appears to be an extremely tragic accident at this stage and our thoughts are with Imie’s family, who are absolutely devastated by her death. I would ask that their privacy is respected at this time.
“Our investigation into this incident is continuing today and we are working hard to establish exactly how Imie came to be in the water.
“We will be working closely alongside partner agencies, including children’s services at the local authority, to support pupils from Imie’s school in Kidderminster.
“Safer Neighbourhoods Team will also be visible in the area to help the community come to terms with this tragic incident.”
Worcestershire County Council’s director of children’s services, Gail Quinton, said: “We would like to express our deepest sympathy for family and friends following the tragic death last night of Imie Harrison. Worcestershire County Council’s 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.”
Neil Hardwick, aged 64, owner of Hardwicks Landscapes Centre, which backs on to the canal, said: “I was walking my dog and I could see a police helicopter about to land on a small patch of grass next to the canal.
“A woman stopped me and said a child had fallen into the water. I could hear wailing and crying.
There was certainly a commotion going on. I could see numerous adults in tears gathered around the lock but it was difficult to see and it was getting dark.”
The Reverend Mary Austin, minister for Methodist churches in Kidderminster, said today: “It is a tragedy for the whole community.”
Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier, posting via social media website Twitter, said: “Tragic story this morning about a child drowned in Kidderminster. My thoughts are with the family and the emergency services.”
The tragic accident follows the death of 12-year-old Robert Fidoe who slipped into a lock while riding his bike over a narrow bridge at Stourport Canal Basin in June 2011.