‘Really shaken up’: Girl drowns as friend saved near Ocean Grove

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A 12-year-old girl has drowned after a passer-by saved another girl she was swimming with in waters off the Bellarine Peninsula on Tuesday.

Investigators understand the pair was swimming in Collendina, a smaller section of Ocean Grove, on Tuesday afternoon when they got into difficulty in the ocean just after 6pm.

The Ocean Grove main beach. Credit: Jason South

The police Airwing assisted in returning the second girl to shore, where CPR was performed, but she died at the scene.

Collendina Holiday Park manager Tony Hempsell said the police helicopter landed on a grassed area inside the complex. After the tragedy, he visited holiday park guests to check they were OK.

“Everyone is really shaken up here,” he said. “It’s just a tragic sort of circumstance.”

He said the beach had been popular with experienced surfers for years, but it wasn’t appropriate for newer, less experienced swimmers when unpatrolled.

“If there’s one message, it’s to swim on patrolled beaches,” he said. “It can be dangerous for people who aren’t water-savvy.”

He also said the girls were swimming when it was already beginning to get dark, another factor that can make swimming at unpredictable beaches a risky activity.

An Ambulance Victoria spokesperson said they took the teenager to University Hospital Geelong in a stable condition.

Emergency services also took a man in his 40s and a woman believed to be in her 30s to the same hospital in a stable condition. The three patients have since been discharged.

The drowning occurred on the first week of school holidays, with many Victorian families travelling to the coast after a period of fair weather in spring.

Officers will now prepare a report for the coroner.

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