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Scotland’s horror drowning weekend as six die in water-related incidents

Six people have drowned in four separate water-related incidents across Scotland within 24 hours.

The tragic roll call began on Friday evening when Connor Markward, 16, died after getting into difficulty in the water at Balloch Castle Country Park, Loch Lomond.

Although a major rescue operation took place around 5.55pm on Friday July 23, 2021 the teenager could not be saved.

Tributes from family and friends from Lochend Community High School in Easterhouse, Glasgow have all been pouring in.

Brother Leo said on social media: “Yesterday my whole world came crashing down.

“My baby bro drowned at Balloch in the most horrible of ways. I’ll love you forever my son, sleep tight. Till we meet again.”

A friend commented: “Rip Connor Markward one of the soundest boys a know, fly high ma man.”

Another added: “Canny believe am writing this but rip Connor Markward New you where the nicest boy I’ll ever meet. fly high brother until wee meet again love you”

Connor Markward, 16, drowned after getting into difficulty in the water around 7pm last night.

Then word broke that tragic 11-year-old, Dean Irvine, died at around 4.30pm on Saturday at Alexander Hamilton Memorial Park in Stonehouse.

It came after police responded to concerns for a person in the water in the rural village in South Lanarkshire.

Locals told how emergency services descended on the park moments after tragedy struck.

One said: “It’s an absolute tragedy. The boy was with friends when he fell into the river. He was so young – it’s tragic.”

Another added: “I saw all the emergency services speeding down the road and knew something awful had happened.

“The poor family, it’s terrible.”

His auntie, Jade Law announced the news online, saying that she would “love him forever.”

She wrote: “Rest in peace little man. I hope you know much you were loved by us all from the moment you were born you kept us on our toes but we wouldn’t have had it any other way.

“Your granny Sandra will take care of you up there. Doesn’t feel real at all no one will ever take your place as my first born nephew, you were one of a kind.

“Auntie Jade loves you forever wee dean I am so sorry you were taken this way – my heart is broken.

“Please send all your prayers to my family, my brother & Kim at this time. I cannot imagine the pain.”

Scotland's horror drowning weekend as six die in water-related incidents
Dean Irvine died in Stonehouse.

Another incident then occurred around 5.55pm on Saturday July 24 in the water at Hazelbank, also in South Lanarkshire.

Emergency services attended and the body of a 13-year-old boy was recovered from the river in the area.

And in the most serious incident most recently, three people died, including a nine-year-old boy, and a seven-year-old was left fighting for life following a multi-agency operation.

It followed concerns for people in the water near Pulpit Rock, Ardlui, also in Loch Lomond at around 6.40pm on Saturday July 24.

A 41-year-old man, 29-year-old woman and 9-year-old boy were all pronounced dead at the scene.

The surviving child was rushed to the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow where he is currently fighting for his life in intensive care.

Formal identification has still to take place in relation to each these incidents and full reports will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal, according to Police Scotland.

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.”



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