Tributes to drowned teenagers placed along Fatfield riverside

teddy bears and blooms: The tributes to Tonibeth and Chloe continued to grow yesterday, as Chloe's family visited Fatfield riverside to lay flowers.
teddy bears and blooms: The tributes to Tonibeth and Chloe continued to grow yesterday, as Chloe's family visited Fatfield riverside to lay flowers.
1
Have your say

DEVASTATED family members laid flowers at the scene where two teenagers drowned.

Relatives of Chloe Fowler, 14, of Shiney Row, visited the scene yesterday, where the Oxclose Academy pupil died after getting into difficulty in the fast-flowing River Wear in Fatfield.

The tearful group read cards and tributes to the teen, as well as those to Tonibeth Purvis, 15, of Barmston, who drowned trying to save her friend.

The double tragedy took place on Tuesday after Chloe entered the water to cool off but began to struggle.

Tonibeth then got in to try to help her.

A massive rescue attempt was launched before their bodies were finally recovered.

Residents of Fatfield said the area of river where they got into trouble was a hot spot for youngsters, and the tragedy was “an accident waiting to happen”.

One former resident of nearby Cox Green, 65, who didn’t want to be named, said: “It’s a tragedy what has happened, but it is a very dangerous stretch of river.

“I was brought up just metres away from it, and was always told that you do not go in.

“It’s quiet now, but there has been a lot of teenagers going up and down the last couple of weeks. It was bound to happen at some point.”

Meanwhile, friends of Chloe and Tonibeth say their deaths will put a stop to any future swimming in the river “blackspot”.

Lauren Lyall, 14, a friend of Chloe’s, said: “It has shocked us.

“People have been putting it all over Facebook how dangerous it is, and how scary it is that something like this could happen.

“No one will be going back in, but people should leave the lifebuoys where they are supposed to be. There should be more signs saying how dangerous it is.”

An inquest into the girls’ death was opened and adjourned yesterday.

Sunderland coroners officer, Neville Dixon, said the inquest has been adjourned as a post-mortem examination into the girls’ deaths proved inconclusive.

The bodies have been released so the families can hold funerals.

A full hearing will be held in October.