By Calvin Palmer
An 11-year-old girl died yesterday after being struck by a boat during a junior lifeguard training exercise at Huntington Beach.
Alyssa Squirrell, from Laguna Hills, California, was among two dozen junior lifeguards taking part in a training exercise known as a “speed drop”, where the youngsters drop off a moving rescue boat.
Laurie Payne, a spokeswoman for the City of Huntington Beach, said the ocean was choppy and when the boat turned round to pick up the swimmers, its propellers struck Squirrell.
She was taken to University of California 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.