DROWNINGS: Man pulled from loch after six die in weekend of water tragedy

Picture above: Loch Lubnaig, near Loch Lomond, where a man was rescued from drowning.

A man has been taken to hospital after getting into difficulty while out swimming on the same weekend six others lost their lives in tragic drowning accidents.

Emergency services were called to Loch Lubnaig around 3pm on Sunday following concern for a person in the water.

He was rushed to Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital where his condition has not been disclosed.

The number of deaths in Scotland’s open water this weekend has been described as ‘hard to comprehend’ by police.

Six people lost their lives between Friday and Sunday, including three children in what Loch Lomond National Park Authority said was ‘one of the worst weekends in its history’.

The body of 16-year-old Connor Markward was recovered at Balloch Country Park around 5.55pm on Friday after he got into difficulty in the water.

Connor, who was a pupil at Lochend Community High School in the Easterhouse area of Glasgow, has been described by those who knew him as ‘the nicest boy’.

Connor Markward teenager death Loch Lomond
                Connor Markward – the 16-year-old schoolboy could sadly not be saved.

Around 4.30pm the next day, emergency services were called to Alexander Hamilton Memorial Park in Stonehouse where 11-year-old Dean Irvine’s body was recovered. He had been in the water with friends when he got into difficulty and drowned.

Around 5.55pm, a second incident was reported at the water on Hazelbank, Lanark, following concern for a person. The body of 13-year-old boy was recovered the following day.

Back at Loch Lomond, around 6.40pm, the alarm was raised over concerns for people in the water near Pulpit Rock, Ardlui.

A multi-agency operation took place and sadly, Edina Olahova, 29, and her son Rana Haris Ali, nine, died alongside their friend Muhammad Asim Riaz, 39. Mr Riaz’s seven-year-old son is currently in intensive care at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams said: “The number of deaths in open water this weekend is hard to comprehend and my thoughts are with the families and loved ones of those affected.

“The warm weather can make open water swimming and paddling very inviting but it is extremely dangerous, even for the most experienced swimmers or supervised children. The conditions can change very quickly and there are often hidden risks like deeper water and strong currents.

“The message I want to send to everyone is exercise extreme caution. It is better to keep a safe distance from water if possible. Tragically, this weekend has highlighted that open water is very, very dangerous. If you see someone in the water and distressed call 999 immediately. Remember, you could get into difficulty yourself trying to help so please take care and seek help as soon as possible.”

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service have urged everyone to take care around water.

They added: “We are urging everyone to take care around water. If you find yourself in trouble, stay calm, extend arms and legs and float on your back, shout for help.

“Make sure everyone is aware of the risks and please stay safe in this warm weather.”

Nicola Sturgeon, pictured left,  said: “This is heartbreaking – my thoughts and condolences are with the loved ones of those who have lost their lives in the water over the past couple of days.

“In Scotland, we have some of the most beautiful lochs and rivers in the world – but if swimming in them, please take care.”

Gordon Watson, Chief Executive of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, said: “Over the coming days we will, along with our partners, reflect on the events of this weekend and discuss what more can be done by us all to prevent further tragedies in our lochs.”

The heatwave is expected to end tomorrow (Tuesday)


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