Man arrested in connection with death of 11-year-old Mari-Simon Cronje, from Putney
The family of an 11-year-old girl who was killed in a freak incident at a birthday celebration have said they are “battling to come to terms” with her death.
Mari-Simon Cronje, from Putney, died while celebrating a friend’s birthday at the Princes Club, a waterski and wakeboard facility in Bedfont, on Saturday afternoon.
It is believed Mari-Simon, who was a pupil at Roehampton’s Ibstock Place School, was thrown off a banana boat and struck by its tow boat as it made a sharp turn.
Police, the London Ambulance Service and the South Coast Ambulance Service were called at 5pm. A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Service said Mari-Simon, who was “seriously injured” as a result, was rushed to West Middlesex Hospital, where she subsequently died.
He added a man in his early 20s, thought to be the tow boat driver, had been arrested and bailed pending further inquiries.
Yesterday, the Cronje family, who live near Barnes Common, released a statement through police, which read: “Our beautiful 11-year-old daughter, Mari-Simon Cronje, was killed in a tragic water sports accident on Saturday afternoon at Princes Club, Bedfont near Feltham. She was a guest at a children's birthday party.
“We are still battling to come to terms with the news.
“We would ask the press and public to respect the family's privacy and let us grieve in peace. Thank you.”
A message posted on the Princes Club website read: “Princes Sporting Club and everyone associated with it is devastated by the accident that occurred on Saturday.
“At this terrible time our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with Marie-Simone Cronje’s family and friends.
“The accident is being investigated by the police and other authorities and they can rely on our complete co-operation.
“At this moment in time, the matter being under investigation, we are not in a position to say anything further.”
The club is to remain closed while the investigation is conducted by officers from the Specialist Crime Directorate and the the Maritime Accident Investigation Branch.
Police said a post-mortem examination will take place at Fulham mortuary at 2pm today.