Boy, 17, dies in 'tragic accident' on school trip

A 17-year-old student who got into difficulty in the sea during a school trip died in what his college principal described as a "tragic accident".

The boy was part of a group from Uxbridge College in west London, who were visiting the beachside village of West Wittering, near Chichester, West Sussex, to celebrate the end of term.

Emergency services received a call about the teenager's welfare at around 1pm on Tuesday.

He was airlifted to hospital where he was pronounced dead, and his family have been informed, Sussex Police said.

Uxbridge College principal Dylan McTaggart said: "This was a tragic accident that has had a huge impact on everyone here. Our priority now is to look after all those affected.

"We have enlisted the help of qualified counsellors and will make sure that over the next days and weeks we have staff and professional support available to our community.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and we ask that you respect their privacy as they grieve the loss of a child."

Detective Inspector Darren Taylor, of Sussex Police, said officers are investigating the incident to establish the full facts, supported by the Health and Safety Executive.

"This was an absolutely tragic incident and I would like to express my sincere condolences to the boy's loved ones at this heartbreaking time," he said.

He appealed for anyone with information to get in touch.

It is not the only death in recent years at West Wittering, a resort that can be extremely popular with visitors when the weather is sunny.

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In September 2023, the body of a man who went missing at West Wittering beach was found nearby near Hayling Island lifeboat station, it was reported.

In 2012, a man died after going to the aid of two children in the sea.

The main beach area, which is on private land, operates a flag-based water safety system and has lifeguards from mid-May to mid-September, according to its website.