Seven drownings in Scotland in a week were “heart-breaking tragedies”, the police chief has said as he urged people to stay safe at beauty spots.
In the final week of July, an 11-year-old boy died in a river at Stonehouse, a 13-year-old boy lost his life in water at Hazelbank in Lanark, while a 16-year-old boy died at Balloch at the south end of Loch Lomond.
The following day, Edina Olahova, 29, Rana Haris Ali, nine, and Muhammad Asim Riaz, 39, died after getting into difficulty in the water near Pulpit Rock at Loch Lomond, while a 34-year-old man died in the following days in Loch Lubnaig.
Speaking publicly about the incidents for the first time, Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said: “Officers responded to a number of water-related tragedies which very sadly resulted in a total of seven deaths during a dreadful week in July when the weather was particularly good.
“These tragic incidents are a stark reminder that the beauty of some of Scotland’s waters and Scotland’s countryside can at times belie the risk that exists.
“I would urge everyone to recognise the dangers – many of which, unfortunately, are hidden – and to follow the safety advice: to stop, assess risk, stay together, to look after each other and look after yourselves and try not to put yourself in danger.
“The deaths are heart-breaking tragedies and on behalf of everyone involved in policing, I extend my sincere condolences to those who lost loved ones and everyone affected.”
Shortly after the incidents, Simon Jones, the executive lead for water safety at Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, said: “It’s been a terrible week in the park and across other parts of Scotland as well for tragic events.
“Our deepest sympathies go out to friends and family.
“We can’t remember a period like this – many of our staff were closely involved and it’s been very traumatic for people involved.
“(It’s been) really, really challenging and sobering – giving us a lot of cause for reflection.”
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