Police officer arrested after British girl, 7, killed by speedboat on holiday in Albania

·2 min read
British-born Jonada Avdia was hit and killed by a speedboat while playing in the sea in Albania (Ismet Avdia/Facebook)
British-born Jonada Avdia was hit and killed by a speedboat while playing in the sea in Albania (Ismet Avdia/Facebook)

A seven-year-old British girl killed by a speedboat allegedly driven by a police officer while holidaying in Albania has been pictured for the first time.

Jonada Avdia had been playing in the sea in the south of the country when she was hit and killed by the boat at about 2pm on Tuesday.

Off-duty police officer Arjan Tase has since been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter.

Images have emerged of the moment the schoolgirl’s distraught father Bledar Avdia reportedly confronted the policeman.

The pictures, posted online by Albania’s former prime minister Sali Berisha, show two men, both in swimming shorts, locking arms as people attempt to separate them.

Speaking to local news outlets, Albanian national Mr Avdia said: “I was bathing together with my daughter near the shore, I saw a white boat with two people on board.

“The boat parked on the beach near a hotel and I saw a girl get off from there.”

The father recalled how a woman and children got into the boat and it set off again through an area cordoned off for swimmers.

“It came in our direction and came at hellish speed and separated me and the girl,” he said

“I dived down under the water and the craft hit my daughter with the engine part, cutting her all over.”

Bislim Ahmetaj, a teacher who was at the beach the day of the incident, recalled how Mr Bledar came up to him afterwards and said: “I should have died instead of her.”

In an emotional Facebook post, he wrote: “Albanians are mourning Jonada and her family, while for you, [alleged] killer of children and dreams, there will be no grave.

“Justice for Jonada should and will be decided by Albanian citizens.”

Jonada’s uncle, Ismet Avdia, shared an image of the young girl as he announced her death on Facebook.

“Friends, we inform you with deep sorrow the death of our niece Jonada Bledar Avdia, at the age of 7, from a tragic accident on Himara beach,” he wrote.

An additional 15 police officers who were meant to be guarding the water at the time of the incident have been fired.

Police have said Tase was dropping members of his family at the shore of Potam beach when the crash happened.

After his relatives disembarked, he put the boat back in the water in the same area and hit Jonada while she was just 15ft away from the shore.

The tragic incident has sparked protests against police across the country, as marchers clashed with officers in the capital of Tirana on Thursday.

The protestors are calling for the resignation of the interior minister, the head of police, and the tourism minister as a result of Jonada’s death.

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