Kyra Hill: First picture of ‘kind’ girl, 11, who drowned at Windsor water park Liquid Leisure

·5 min read
Kyra Hill: First picture of ‘kind’ girl, 11, who drowned at Windsor water park Liquid Leisure

This is the first picture of a “kind and smart” schoolgirl who drowned at a water adventure park during a friend’s birthday party on Saturday.

Kyra Hill, 11, was taking part in an inflatable obstacle course when she disappeared underwater as lifeguards begged for goggles from other swimmers to look for her, according to reports.

The young Manchester United fan, who played football for Coombe Wood School in Croydon, was celebrating a pal’s birthday with 10 friends at Liquid Leisure Windsor on Saturday.

Emergency services arrived at 3.55pm but Kyra was not found until 5.10pm and could not be saved.

It is understood the mum of the girl whose birthday it was checked whether all her daughter’s friends could swim before inviting them to Liquid Leisure.

Kyra Hill vanished underwater at the water park (TikTok)
Kyra Hill vanished underwater at the water park (TikTok)

A 12-year-old classmate told MailOnline: “Kyra was so kind.

“She was really smart, she was at the top of all our classes.

“She liked to make people smile, she cared about people.”

A mother of one of her other classmates broke down in tears, saying: “She was such a sweet girl.”

Witnesses described around 40 adults diving into the water frantically searching for the child.

An 11-year-old girl died during the incident (Andrew Matthews/PA) (PA Wire)
An 11-year-old girl died during the incident (Andrew Matthews/PA) (PA Wire)

A 32-year-old mum, who was amongst the visitors that day, said: “There didn’t seem to be a single adult in charge.

“It was horrendous. One of the lifeguards said he didn’t want to get in because he didn’t want to get his trainers wet. Some were screaming to get goggles.”

A mother, recounting the desperate search for Kyra, hit out at a lack of “action” among staff.

The woman, who did not want to be named, said: “We realised a child was missing as two frantic women ran past screaming her name.

“There seem to be no plan of action with the LL staff. A few lifeguards jumped into the water and started searching in what appeared to be a very non-methodical way.

“Another member of staff started asking other members of staff if they were life guard trained. No one appeared to be in charge and there was no co-ordination in managing the situation.

“For the adults and children left on the riverside we didn’t know what to do, there was no communication and no evacuation procedure. There is one small entrance and exit at LL and the emergency services arrived quickly and in huge numbers, they couldn’t have done more.

Liquid Leisure in Windsor, where an 11-year-old girl has died after going missing (PA)
Liquid Leisure in Windsor, where an 11-year-old girl has died after going missing (PA)

“But because we weren’t told what to do and didn’t want to block their efforts of coming in to the park we just stood by and witnessed the search and rescue divers looking in the water.

“Afterwards my daughter commented that she didn’t feel safe on the inflatable, there were areas which had deflated and gaps between obstacles which anyone could have easily slipped down leaving them underneath the inflatable.”

The woman said her daughter had attended a safety briefing beforehand and said she was told not to push in people they did not know, not to use abusive language and that a whistle would be blown 10 minutes before the end and a second whistle would be blown when the session was finished.

Closed signs on the gates of Liquid Leisure in Windsor (PA)
Closed signs on the gates of Liquid Leisure in Windsor (PA)

Melissa Henson, a mother-of-two, claimed her daughter got stuck head-down in the water between two inflatables during an incident a year ago.

She told MailOnline: “This (the girl who died) could have been my daughter.”

Ms Henson said after raising concerns to management about safety, they apologised and offered her a free return.

Participants or their parents are asked to sign a waiver clarifying that those taking part are “competent swimmers” who are “confident in deep open water” and have a “reasonable level of fitness”.

It also asks users to accept that there is “an element of danger and risk of physical or emotional injury” involved in taking part in the course.

A Liquid Leisure statement said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and all those effected by this desperately tragic and upsetting incident.

“As Thames Valley Police are in the early stages of investigation, it would not be right for us to add further comment, but we will continue to fully support and assist them throughout the process.”

Its website says: “Liquid Leisure is home to Europe’s Largest Aqua Park and the first official Ninja Warrior UK Aqua Park, set on one of the most beautiful private freshwater lakes amongst stunning parkland in the heart of Berkshire.”

People mourn the death of the 11-year-old (PA)
People mourn the death of the 11-year-old (PA)

The girl’s death is being treated as unexplained and an investigation has been launched, Thames Valley Police said.

Although formal identification has yet to take place, the girl’s next of kin have been informed and they are being offered support by officers.

Local policing area commander Supt Michael Greenwood said: “My thoughts are with the family and friends of the girl who has died as a result of this tragic incident.

“We are in the early stages of investigating this incident to understand the full circumstances

“There was a swift response from all emergency services and following an extensive search of the lake, the girl, who was 11, was located at around 5.10pm and taken to hospital but sadly died.”

He added: “This has been an extremely traumatic and upsetting incident for all involved.

“I am aware that several members of the public entered the lake shortly after the girl got into difficulty, but were unable to locate her.

“I would like to commend them for their courage and bravery.

“My sincere condolences are with the girl’s family and friends, and I would ask that their privacy is respected at this incredibly traumatic and distressing time for them.”