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A seven-year-old boy has died after falling overboard from a passenger ferry in the Baltic Sea, with his mum killed when trying to save him.
The Swedish Maritime Administration confirmed the horror incident which saw the child fall into the ocean before his mum dived in after him.
After the pair went overboard, the crew on board the Stena Spirit ferry issued a mayday and headed back to the scene where they fell.
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Stena Spirit had been travelling from the Polish port of Gdynia to the Swedish port of Karlskrona before the mother and son were confirmed to have died.
NATO sent ships and helicopters in a desperate attempt to rescue the mum and son, as did Swedish authorities.
The 36-year-old mum and little boy were airlifted to hospital in Karlskrona before they were pronounced dead a short while later.
Both are believed to be Polish citizens, with police spokesperson Mariusz Ciarka telling local media that it was impossible to save the lives of the two.
He said: "Unfortunately, in the morning we received information from the Swedish side that we have to pass on this terrible news to the family, because both the boy and the woman are dead."
The boy fell from a height of about 20m – 65ft – off the Stena Line ferry, it has been reported.
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Stena Line spokesperson Agnieszka Zembrzycka told TVN 24: "At the moment we have no information whether this was due to a malfunction of the ferry.
"We are cooperating with the police and other authorities that are appointed to explain the causes and circumstances of this event."
Anders Olsson, who was on the rescue helicopter that pulled the woman from the sea, told Swedish radio on Friday that she was ‘not responsive’ and first aid was administered to her.
Swedish police issued an appeal to Polish passengers via Poland’s state-run news agency PAP asking for information that could explain how the accident occurred.
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