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London - A girl died when a wheel flew off a passing Land Rover and hit her as she went to school.

Amelia Wood, 11, was taken to hospital by an air ambulance in a critical condition after passers-by called for help but doctors could not save her.

She had been walking along the pavement to a bus stop on Tuesday morning when the front wheel of the 4x4 broke off and struck her.

The driver was said to have been ‘devastated’ and had bought the Discovery model only a month earlier,

Another motorist, who did not wish to be named, was at the scene in Manby, near Louth, Lincolnshire, shortly after 8am.

‘I was there just as the Land Rover lowered when the wheel came off,’ he said.

‘Having a hi-vis vest on, I stopped to see if I could help. But it wasn’t until I got out that I saw the girl at the side of the road. I could see there was an ambulance waiting at the lights and it came past and the paramedics jumped out to look after the girl.

‘It all happened really quickly and within a few minutes you could see the air ambulance coming towards us.

‘It was really quick. I think it came from Lincoln.’

Police have taken possession of the Land Rover and it is undergoing detailed examination by experts to establish its history and condition.

Martin Brown, executive principal at Louth Academy where Amelia was a Year 7 pupil, paid tribute to her. ‘We are all devastated by such tragic news,’ he said. ‘Amelia was a well-loved student who will be greatly missed by staff and students.

‘She was an active member of our community and was always keen to participate in events.

‘Amelia was a keen netball player and represented the Academy in a recent fixture.

‘She was a very popular and caring student who always helped and supported her friends. Amelia will be remembered as a vibrant, passionate and very determined student.

‘To support students, we have a counsellor and pastoral staff available who will offer help and guidance in the coming days and weeks, supported where appropriate by specialist professionals.

‘At this difficult time, we would like to offer our deepest condolences to her family and all those who loved Amelia.’

Simon Clark, Amelia’s former headteacher at Grimoldby Primary School, said: ‘We are of course shocked and saddened by this tragic accident. Amelia left our school last summer to go to secondary school.

‘She was a wonderful young lady and a well-loved member of our school community.

‘Amelia’s kindness really shone through, and her peers voted her onto the School Council when she was in Year 6.

‘She used this opportunity to support younger pupils and help improve the school any way she could. Pupils, friends and staff are naturally devastated. Our thoughts are very much with Amelia’s family. We will do everything we can to support Amelia’s friends and relatives.’

Sergeant Dave Mitchell, from Lincolnshire Police’s serious collision investigation unit, said; ‘We have spoken to a number of witnesses and will be completing a full investigation.’ A spokesman for the East Midlands Ambulance Service said a call for help was made at 8.05am.

Emergency staff and vehicles were sent to the scene as well as the Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire Air Ambulance.

The helicopter took just 11 minutes to arrive and then took Amelia to Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham.