An 11-year-old girl died last night after an accident while at the seaside with her family.
The youngster, who has not been named, was taken to hospital after getting into difficulties on Bushfoot Strand near Portballintrae at around 2pm yesterday.
It’s understood the girl had been body-boarding and was with three family members.
She was taken to Causeway Hospital in nearby Coleraine and her condition was initially described as critical. However, a hospital spokesperson confirmed that the girl died last night.
A passer-by who was walking her dog on the beach as the girl was being treated said an ambulance was unable to find the access road to the beach.
But she praised the efforts of the Coastguard and bystanders, who carried out chest compressions on the youngster before the ambulance came.
“The bystanders were being absolutely fantastic at keeping up the chest compressions,” she said.
“That seemed to go on for a long time as the ambulance had arrived but couldn’t find the access road to the beach.”
The woman said the beach is known by locals to be unsafe for bathing, and said more signs should be put up to make visitors aware of that.
A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Ambulance Services said staff had gone to the girl’s aid on foot before one of its Jeep-style rapid response vehicles drove onto the beach to treat the girl.
She was then taken to hospital.
Ulster Unionist councillor Sandra Hunter said: “My thoughts and prayers are with the young girl’s family at this harrowing time.”
A spokeswoman for Belfast Coastguard said users of beaches should take care.
“The important thing is to check the weather and be very careful about tides and rip currents,” she said. “There are some very strong rip currents on the north coast and while the water may look benign, it is important to bear rip currents in mind.”