Pictured: Ukrainian refugee schoolgirl, 14, who died after being found on Devon beach
The Ukrainian schoolgirl who died after being found unconscious on a beach in Devon is pictured for the first time today.
Albina Yevko, 14, had been living in Dawlish with her mother and a British family and going to a local school after fleeing Ukraine following Putin’s invasion a year ago.
But the teenager was found on the town’s beach after she was reported missing on Saturday evening. Albina was airlifted to hospital but later died. The death is being treated by police as unexplained.
Paying tribute, alongside the release of a photo of her daughter, mum Inna Yevko said: ‘Myself and my family are devastated to have lost our beautiful Albina. Nothing can ever replace her in our hearts. We ask that our privacy is respected at this incredibly painful time.’
Albina Yevko, 14, had been living in Dawlish after fleeing Ukraine with her mother following Putin’s invasion
Police were called to reports of a teenage girl missing from Dawlish on Saturday evening (image taken on Monday)
Police were called when the ‘kind and caring’ teenager had gone missing on Saturday evening. Searches by a police helicopter and coastguard tracked Albina to a beach in the town and she was airlifted to hospital, where she later died.
Police said they are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding her death.
Localised searches took place with support from the police helicopter and coastguard and an unconscious person was found on Dawlish Beach. She was subsequently airlifted to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital where she later sadly died.
Officers said they are keeping an open mind but her death was not currently being treated as suspicious.
Sam Banks, the headteacher at Dawlish College, where Albina was a year 9 student, paid tribute to the teen.
He said: “Everyone in our school community has been devastated to learn of the tragic death of one of our year 9 students, Albina Yevko.
“Our thoughts are currently with Albina’s family and loved ones and we have extended our deepest condolences and offers of support to them.
“Albina will be sorely missed by all who knew her, and we have set up ongoing emotional support and signposting for staff and students affected by this terrible news.
“We would like to respect and echo the family’s request that their privacy be respected at this incredibly painful time.”
The local community in Dawlish have continued to expressed their shock at her discovery. It was understood Inna and her daughter were living with a host family after fleeing the conflict.
One close family friend, who also lived in Dawlish, also paid tribute to her today.
They said: ‘I want to honour the memory of my friend’s daughter from Ukraine.
‘She was not only young, but also very bright, smart, interesting, she loved to draw.
‘She was a good person. I can’t believe this could happen to her. We are all a society and we know about stereotypes. That this person is more likely to get into such a story. This is the law of regularity. But what happened to Albina is complete nonsense.
‘Albina always discussed with her mother what she would do and where she would go.
‘Thanks to all the services of England for responding so quickly to the search request.
‘It is unfortunate that medicine did not have time to help. Please help us find out what happened so that we can warn everyone that there were no such mistakes, not only among Ukrainian children, but also among English children.
‘I have known this family since May last year. We met here. They were lucky to live with their family host.
‘They liked England. Inna is a specialist in the IT industry. She had a job.
‘Albina rejoiced at the new school. Maybe I found new friends. We met for lunch together. We celebrated the new year together.
‘I found good people in them. I have only good memories of our time together.’
Searches by a police helicopter and coastguard tracked down the teenager to a beach in the town and she was airlifted to the Royal Devon and Exeter hospital
The youngster has been described as a ‘kind and caring person’ by pupils at a local school that she was attending, The Sun reported.
One said: ‘She went to my school. It’s so sad, she was a lovely girl.’
Another pupil added: ‘We just got the news at the school I go to because she was a student here and we all think it’s horrible. She was such a kind and caring person and it is so sad to see her go.’
Her death is currently being treated as unexplained, with officers appealing for anyone with CCTV or doorbell camera footage to come forward.
The tragic incident has upset many local people in the area who are desperate for answers.
Carol Evans, a 72-year-old who volunteers at The Children’s Society shop in Dawlish, said: ‘I’m absolutely horrified, I think it’s dreadful. I hope it wasn’t somebody else that caused it.
‘I think people will be really upset about it. I ‘ve worked here for over 10 years. You get to know everybody here – I know 99 per cent of Dawlish.
‘We made friends with a lot of Ukrainian families – a lot of the ones we got on really friendly with have gone back.’