TWO young men killed after their car came off the road have been named by their friends.
Although police have not officially named the victims, friends have named them as Dean Paling, 23, and his 24-year-old friend, driver Tom Emery.
The double tragedy happened at 11pm on Monday on the B2177 Southwick Road, near Boarhunt.
Dozens of friends gathered at the crash site to lay flowers, but many were too upset to speak to The News. Dean, known as Little Dean, was from Botley, Southampton.
Last year he joined Dean Stoneman as a navigator in the Powerboat P1 series and stunned the sport’s world by winning the championship at the first attempt.
Roy Mantle, from P1, said: ‘I got a telephone call from a colleague.
‘The biggest shock is how young Little Dean was, just 23.
‘He and Dean Stoneman were outstanding together. They were so young compared to the other drivers in the championship but they had an understanding. It is such a tragedy. Everyone at Powerboat P1 is deeply saddened.’
Record-breaking powerboater Keith Whittle, owner of Power Tech, on Hayling Island, said: ‘We look after all the boats for the series, including the one the two Deans used last year.
‘I met Little Dean and he was a great lad. Everyone is in shock about it. He’s around the same age as my son. He was a talented young man. It’s terrible news.’
The men’s next of kin are expected to formally identify the victims tomorrow and a post-mortem will follow.
Friends posted tributes to the pair on the social networking site Twitter.
Bradley Ayrton Abella said: ‘Can’t believe the news I heard this morning.
‘RIP Dean Paling lost close friend of mine always smiling.’
And Jess Angel said: ‘R.i.p Dean Paling and Tom Emery, still trying to get my head round what’s happened!
‘Heaven has gained two angels! Gone but never forgotten x’
The road was closed for several hours following the accident while Fratton Roads Policing Unit tried to piece together how the driver lost control of his grey Mitsubishi Lancer.
They were travelling west towards Staple Cross when the vehicle left the road, killing both men instantly. No other vehicles are believed to have been involved.
Witnesses can contact Fratton Roads Policing Unit on 101 with information.