Hove schoolgirl, 16, dies on family holiday

Posted On 27 Aug 2011 at 9:04 pm

A 16-year-old Hove schoolgirl has died during a family holiday in Portugal.

Mia Knight, 16, who went to Hove Park School, is thought to have fallen unconscious as she was swimming in the sea in the Algarve.

Her friends held a vigil at the upper school site in Nevill Road yesterday evening (Friday 26 August) – a day after collecting their GCSE results.

They created a temporary shrine of cards and flowers.

They also left tributes on social networking sites, including Facebook and Twitter, with hundreds of people leaving messages of sympathy.

Head teacher Derek Trimmer said: “Everybody in the school community is going to be devastated by this news.

“Our thoughts and our feelings are with the family at this very, very, very difficult time.”

A lifeguard pulled Mia from the sea in the resort of Portimao on Wednesday (24 August) and tried to resuscitate her.

According to a local paper in the Algarve, Mia’s stepfather John Hall said that he believed that she had died from a heart attack while in the water.

He is reported to have said: “Mia had a lifejacket on and was wading out into the water where she intended to go on an inflatable ride when she became ill.

“She did not drown and we suspect she suffered a massive heart attack.”

Mr Hall is reported to have said that it took more than half an hour for an ambulance to reach the beach.

He said: “Eventually people were running up to the police station to ask for help because the ambulance had still not arrived.

“When it did get here there was no doctor, just paramedics.

“We don’t know if the ambulance could have got here faster or if Mia could have been saved, but I live in Brighton and if there is a problem on the beach you are used to seeing help come very quickly.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said that it was offering consular assistance.

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