A 12-year-old girl was swept to her death after falling from her pony while trying to cross a swollen river in Devon

A 12-year-old girl has died after trying to cross a river on her pony while out riding during her half-term holiday.

Charlotte Saunders fell from her pony Charlie while trying to cross the River Okement at a ford just half-a-mile from the riding stables run by her father. She was out riding with at least one friend when the accident happened last Friday.

The river was reported to have swollen from its normal depth of a few inches to around 3ft due to the recent heavy rain. Reports said that her pony became distressed when asked to cross the ford, and Charlotte was swept away by the strong current when she fell into water.

Six fire crews, 20 police and a police helicopter helped family and friends to search for Charlotte after the alarm was raised. Her body was found caught in undergrown around 400yds downstream.

The pony was found unhurt on a country lane near the stables later that day.