Lochgilp­head man tells of ef­forts to reach tots

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

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.’

Pho­to­graph: Kevin McG­lynn

The Coast­guard he­li­copter at the scene of the ac­ci­dent last Wednes­day af­ter­noon.

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