A relative of tragic Dean Irvine saved the life of his friend when she plucked him to safety as he was being pulled under the water.
Eleven-year-old Dean was tragically killed after getting into difficulty while swimming at Alexander Hamilton Memorial Park in Stonehouse at the weekend.
Emergency services were called to the scene at around 4.30pm on Saturday afternoon, but Dean was recovered from the water and pronounced dead at the scene.
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Now his brave pal Dylan Robinson has told how he was saved from a similar fate.
The 12-year-old said five children and one adult had gone to the river to cool off. But the alarm was raised when three of the youngsters were pulled downstream.
Dylan said: “I was really scared, but the woman managed to get me out.”
His mum Kelly Barnes said she thought her son was in a neighbour’s house at the time of the incident.
The 38-year-old told Lanarkshire Live : “Dylan’s not allowed near the river because we all know how dangerous it is down there.
“The first I knew of what happened was when a woman turned up at the door with Dylan and told me.
“I’d heard sirens earlier in the day and thought to myself that I hoped everything was okay. Dylan told me he’d been pulled from the water but that Dean had drowned.
“Dylan had swallowed a lot of water and Dean’s relative, who was babysitting him while his mum was at work, had pulled him out.
“I was in utter shock and still am. I didn’t even know he was down there. I thought he was at his pal’s house at the end of the street.
“Dylan has been left traumatised and got out of his bed on Saturday night to ask me if it was okay if he went to sleep because he thought he was going to die. I’m dreading how this is going to affect him.
“All I can think about it is what could have happened and how our lives could have been so different today.”
Dylan’s nana, Janice Barnes, 62, added: “We’re just feeling so thankful that Dylan’s still here and our hearts go out to Dean’s mum.
“She dropped her boy off with a relative and then went to work. He went out to play on a warm summer’s day and didn’t come home.
“It’s a tragedy and Dylan’s had a lucky escape but we’re devastated for Dean’s family.”
Residents who live near the river said emergency services including an air ambulance descended on the scene just before 5pm.
One woman said: “There’s been about three people who have drowned in that part of the river since the 1980s.
“I can’t stress enough how dangerous it is.
“There’s a whirlpool at the part where the wee boy died and it’s really deep. It’s another tragedy.”
Dean’s heartbroken auntie Jade Law paid an emotional tribute to the “lovely young boy” on social media.
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 and Kim at this time. – cannot imagine the pain.”
Family friend William Reid appealed for help as the tragedy unfolded.
He wrote on social media: “Guys, girls need help in Stonehouse, my pal’s wee boy has fallen in the water and we want to get as many bodies down to help look for him.
“He’s 11-years-old called Dean and has a Celtic strip on. (He was) last seen at the water in Stonehouse at the memorial park.
“Police and search and rescue are there, but the more people we have out looking the better chance we have of getting the wee guy home.”
Tributes followed online.
One friend wrote: “RIP Dean you’ll be missed loads. Hillhouse won’t be the same without you, you were my best pal. I’ll miss you wee man.”
His devastated teacher laid flowers at the scene of the schoolboy’s tragedy yesterday with a note saying: ““Fly high wee guy. Love Mrs Ramsay.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up by Dean’s dad’s friend, Marina Weir to help with Dean’s funeral.
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