Family pays tribute to their “diamond” Emily Gardner who died in boating accident

The family of Gloucester teenager Emily Gardner who died in a tragic boating accident in Devon have paid tribute to their “diamond” daughter and sister.

The 14-year-old became trapped underneath the 16ft speedboat when it overturned with three other people on board just outside Brixham Harbour on Saturday morning.

She was taken to Torbay Hospital by ambulance in a critical condition but was pronounced dead a short time later.

In a statement, Emily’s devastated family said: “Our beautiful Emily was a caring loving, gentle daughter and sister.

“She was full of life and had the world ahead of her. She was our diamond, now shining bright in the sky.

“She will be missed and forever in our hearts.”

Emily, a pupil at Chosen Hill School, in Churchdown, was on a Bank Holiday trip with a friend’s family when tragedy struck.

Emergency services were called at 11.44am after reports a boat had capsized.

Lifeboat crews attended along with two coastguard search and rescue teams and the coastguard helicopter.

They found Emily in the 16ft speedboat while three other people had been rescued by other crafts in the area, including two jet skiers and a yacht.

Two 15-year-old girls and a 50-year-old man, all from Gloucester, were taken to hospital by ambulance with minor injuries and have since been discharged.

Specialist divers worked into the evening to remove the capsized boat, which was near the entrance to the harbour.

Heartbroken friends and family members took to social media sites to pay tribute to Emily.

Julie Underwood-Baldwin said: “Sleep tight princess. Your beautiful smile will shine from above.”

Sian Adele Daniels said she cannot imagine how the family are feeling while Lisa Akam said Emily “will be missed by so many.”

Alison Travers said: “RIP Emily. In the arms of angels, our thoughts, love and prayers go out to all the family.”

Sharon Long added: “Fly high beautiful girl. Always smiling, always laughing. Sleep tight princess.”

Kerry Anne said: “Utterly devastating for a family to suffer this awful tragedy. A beautiful young lady taken far too soon.”

The 16ft speedboat, which was believed to be privately owned, has been recovered and taken to police premises for examination.

Police are investigating the cause of the incident on behalf of the coroner.

It is a joint investigation with the Marine Accident Investigation Branch.

Police and the MAIB are also being assisted by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Detective Sergeant Andy Turner, deputy senior investigating officer, based in Torquay, said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends who are affected by this tragic incident.

“I would like to thank the public and the emergency services for their assistance in getting the casualties to hospital swiftly.

“Enquiries are ongoing and we are keen to speak to any witnesses who have not already come forward.”