THE death of a schoolgirl who drowned alongside a teenage boy at Bournemouth Pier could have been caused by a boat, an inquest has heard.
Sunnah Khan, 12, and Joe Abbess, 17, died when a horror riptide saw 10 people rescued from the sea at the popular beach on May 31.
In the hours after the tragedy unfolded police were seen scouring the pleasure boat Dorset Belle.
A man was also arrested on suspicion of manslaughter but he was released and no charges were laid.
A pre-inquest has now heard how the 78ft boat could not be ruled out as the cause of young Sunnah's death.
Opening the hearing yesterday, Dorset coroner Rachael Griffin said she would be asking experts to probe the role the Dorset Belle played in the 12-year-old's death.
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Ms Griffin said: "At the moment I don't know what caused the rip current and therefore it's likely I will be seeking an expert opinion from a meteorologist about the weather conditions and water movements on that day.
"It is still too early for me to rule out the movement of the boat and the use of the Dorset Belle at the pier."
However, she added, she was satisfied the man in his 40s who was "on the water" at the time and had previously been arrested had nothing to do with the deaths.
Sunnah's heartbroken family are said to also be questioning the emergency response time after they raised they alarm.
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The coroner said: "Her family has raised concern as to what was happening in that hour to locate Sunnah.
"Her family had been rescued from the water and raised the fact that she was missing and (want to understand) what was being done in relation to that."
The 12-year-old's mum Stephanie Williams previously opened up about her devastation around how she hadn't been told how her daughter died.
In the days after Sunnah's death, she was hailed an "angel".
A family friend told The Sun: “She will be missed by everyone, she was very popular and her death will leave a hole that will be impossible to fill.
“She had so much more to look forward to. She was an angel.”
Tributes also poured in for Joe, a budding young chef.
His family said: "We are heartbroken and devastated at the death of our Joe. He was a wonderful son and brother who is sadly missed.
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“His family and friends will always love him and we are incredibly proud of the fabulous young man he was. He was kind and generous, loving and caring, hardworking and funny."
The inquest has adjourned until January.
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