BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West | Bridge plunge kills teenage girls
Bridge plunge kills teenage girls
The girls jumped from the Erskine Bridge on Sunday night
Two teenage girls have died after apparently jumping into the River Clyde from the Erskine Bridge.
The pair, thought to be Neve Lafferty, 14, from Helensburgh, and a 15-year-old girl from Hull, jumped from the bridge just before 2100 BST on Sunday.
Their bodies were recovered after a search involving the emergency services and the Ministry of Defence.
The girls attended the Good Shepherd's Centre in Renfrewshire - a young person's unit.
The Bishopton unit cares for young people referred by local authority educational and psychological services, social work departments and children's hearings.
The girls entered the unit seven to eight weeks ago.
Counselling is being offered to the other residents at the unit, who have been shocked and traumatised by what has happened
Good Shepherd Centre spokesman
A spokesman for the centre said they had been on apparently happy and productive weekend outings with relatives. Staff saw them going to their rooms in their pyjamas to watch television on Sunday evening.
Workers carrying out routine checks later noticed they were missing and began a search of the campus and the immediate vicinity.
Shortly afterwards, police called to inform staff of the incident which had taken place at the Erskine Bridge.
The spokesman said: "The thoughts and prayers of all at the Good Shepherd Centre are with the families and friends of the girls who have died.
"Counselling is being offered to the other residents at the unit, who have been shocked and traumatised by what has happened."
The Good Shepherd Centre is affiliated to the Cora Foundation, a non-profit-making company owned by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Scotland, and comprises three sections - an open unit, a secure unit and the St Francis Day Unit.
The two girls who died were among nine live-in residents at the open unit, which is also attended by 21 girls who live in foster or care homes.
Pupils there are not kept under lock and key but any outing requires authorisation.
No authorisation was given for the girls to leave on Sunday.
There would appear to be no suspicious circumstances surrounding the deaths
The centre, which is an independent unit owned and managed by its own voluntary board of managers, has been inspected twice a year by the Scottish Care Commission, and is generally rated as "good".
However the commission did receive a complaint last year which was "partially upheld".
An inspection report at the time said there had been a big increase in the numbers of cases of girls being physically restrained by staff at the centre, with it being used because of "very challenging behaviour".
Inspectors told management at the centre that their restraint procedures were "unacceptable", but in a follow-up report five months later inspectors said staff retraining was under way.
In an inspection report earlier this year the centre was rated as "good" or "very good" for its quality of care and support and for its staffing.
The girls' bodies were pulled from the water on Sunday night after a search involving police, fire and rescue services, coastguard teams and the Ministry of Defence.
They were then taken to Glasgow's Southern General Hospital in a Ministry of Defence helicopter.
A statement from Strathclyde Police said: "We can confirm the death of two girls aged 14 and 15 years at the Erskine Bridge on Sunday 4 October 2009.
"Inquiries are continuing. However, there would appear to be no suspicious circumstances surrounding the deaths.
"A report will be prepared for the procurator fiscal."
An Argyll and Bute Council spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that one of the young people involved in this tragic incident was an Argyll and Bute resident and was known to social work services.
"We will be holding our own investigation into the circumstances surrounding this distressing case, and will of course assist other agencies in any way we can during their inquiries."
Nigel Richardson, from the Hull Safeguarding Children Board, said: "We are aware of the incident and are working closely with authorities in Scotland to understand what has happened.
"Our sympathies go out to the friends and family of both of the young women."