Thursday, 23 Sep 2021

Dad tried to save wife and son, 9, as they drowned in Loch Lomond

A man whose wife and nine-year-old son drowned in Loch Lomond on Saturday has told how he battled in vain to save their lives.

Waris Ali said he, his 29-year-old wife Edina Olahova and Muhammad Asim Riaz, 41, who also died, jumped in after seeing his son Rana and Mr Riaz’ son getting into difficulty in the lake.

The boys had been standing on a pier and went into the water thinking it was shallow, but it was ‘too deep’ and they ‘went under’.

He told Sky News: ‘I managed to stay afloat and head towards the shallow water, but when I got out, I saw my wife’s hands outside and just her eyes out of the water.

‘I took my shirt off and threw it to her so she could grab it, but she couldn’t.

‘I was trying to save my wife for some time, took my shirt off but realised I couldn’t do anything to save her.

‘I then went to go and get help.’

A Scottish man jumped in and rescued Mr Riaz’s son but ‘couldn’t save anyone else’, Mr Ali added.

The seven-year-old boy was taken to hospital. The two families had stopped at the lake as they headed home from Skye.

Three other people died in separate incidents in separate incidents in Scottish waters on the weekend.

An 11-year-old boy died in a river near Stonehouse, a 13-year-old boy died in a river near Hazelbank and a 16-year-old boy also died in Loch Lomond’s southern tip near Balloch.

The family of a teenage girl who died in Loch Lomond last year joined an MSP in accusing authorities in charge of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs national park, as well as the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service of ignoring their demands for new safety measures to stop more deaths.

Speaking on Monday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “These are just heartbreaking human tragedies.

‘Like everyone else across the country my thoughts are with the families of those who are grieving loved ones right now.’

‘These tragedies are a reminder that the beauty of some of our waters often belies the dangers they hold.’

She said: ‘Even if you think you’re a good, strong swimmer, if you don’t understand the current or the depths or the impact of sudden cold water on the body, then you can be putting yourself in real danger.

‘I think we’ll want to reflect on what more can be done to educate young people about the dangers as well as the beauties of water.’

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