A six-year-old girl has died after she was accidentally struck by the propeller of a boat her mum was driving in an Arizona lake.

A group of 12 people from two families had boarded a boat on Lake Pleasant at about 7am on Friday.

Later that morning, one of the families called 911 to report their young daughter had been hit by the boat’s propeller.

People saw that the child’s mother had accidentally killed her young girl, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO).

“Witnesses at the scene confirmed that the child’s mother was operating the boat when she began to drive and, unbeknownst to the family, the child had somehow entered the water,” the sheriff’s office said.

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Her father was also in the lake at the time with a wakeboard used for water sports. He realised someone was in the water and swam towards his child.

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The girl’s leg had been amputated by the boat’s propeller, the sheriff’s office said.

She was taken to the lake’s marina by her family where first responders tried to help her, but was later pronounced dead in hospital.

The incident remains under investigation, but the sheriff’s office said “impairment does not appear to be a factor”.

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