Lochgilphead man tells of efforts to reach tots
A LOCHGILPHEAD man ‘didn’t think twice’ before plunging into an icy loch to try to save two young children, writes Eala MacAlister.
Leia McCorrisken, three, and her two-year- old brother, Seth, died when the car they were travelling in crashed into Loch nan Druimnean, near Kilmelford, at around 4pm on July 6.
Painter and decorator Jimmy McMahon came across the chaotic scene on his way back from shopping in Oban.
Mr McMahon said: ‘I heard this woman screaming. It just sent a shiver up your spine. You could tell something bad had happened.’
He arrived about 10 minutes after the car had gone off the road, plunging into the loch. A number of passers-by had already gone into the water but had been unable to reach the car, which was believed to be around 40 feet below the surface.
When Mr McMahon heard there were children trapped in the car he realised he wanted to help.
He said: ‘I couldn’t wait around, so I just went in. I didn’t realise how deep it was.
‘I could hear the sound of the engine rattling but I couldn’t see a thing. I couldn’t get down more than about 12 feet.’
After about 15 minutes, Mr McMahon realised there was nothing more he could do.
‘I think I went down three times. When I came up the third time I realised there was no way I could get down that deep,’ he said.
Mr McMahon is familiar with the road and frequently drives along it.
He said that the day the incident happened had been very wet, leading to treacherous road conditions.
He continued: ‘I really think they should put barriers up at that part of the road. It’s a slippery surface and one of the most bendy bits of the road.’
The Coastguard helicopter at the scene of the accident last Wednesday afternoon.