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California Briefing / Huntington Beach

Girl, 11, dies after lifeguard accident

July 15, 2009|My-Thuan Tran

An 11-year-old girl died Tuesday afternoon after a boating accident that was part of a Junior Lifeguard training exercise in Huntington Beach.

Alyssa Squirrell was part of a group of Junior Lifeguards who were conducting a routine training exercise known as a "speed drop," in which they drop into the water off a moving rescue boat, said Laurie Payne, spokeswoman for the city of Huntington Beach

The ocean was choppy, Payne said, and when the boat circled around to pick up the swimmers, its propellers struck Squirrell. She was taken to UC Irvine Medical Center and later died.

The accident is being reviewed by the Orange County sheriff's Harbor Patrol.

Payne said it was the first fatal accident since the Junior Lifeguard Program's inception in 1964.

-- My-Thuan Tran

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