The Scottish Mail on Sunday

Boy aged 11 is latest death in 25 water tragedies in a week

- By Patricia Kane

A BOY of 11 last night became the 25th UK victim of heatwave-related water tragedies in the space of a week.

Emergency services raced to Alexander Hamilton Memorial Park in Stonehouse, Lanarkshir­e, late yesterday afternoon after the alarm was raised over a person in difficulty.

A Scottish Fire and Rescue vehicle also attended with a boat attached at the back.

A Police Scotland spokesman later said: ‘A male youth was recovered from water. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

‘Formal identifica­tion has still to take place but the family of an 11-year-old boy have been made aware. A report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.’

The tragedy follows the death of a 16-year-old boy at Loch Lomond on Friday night.

Police, fire crews and the Coastguard sped to Balloch Country Park, West Dunbartons­hire, at around 6pm after reports that a swimmer was in trouble.

The teenager was named yesterday by family as Connor Markward, from the Easterhous­e area of Glasgow.

In yet another incident, the A82 in Argyll was shut last night between Crianlaric­h and Ardlui as police conducted inquiries over a potential water accident.

The deaths come as warnings were issued over the dangers of swimming in open water after a spate of drownings over the past seven days across Britain. The Royal Life Saving Society yesterday described the week of deaths as ‘devastatin­g’. Charity director

Lee Heard said: ‘The message is that anyone who does not have substantia­l experience of swimming in cold open water shouldn’t go in.’

Yesterday, Connor’s family paid poignant tribute to the popular schoolboy, a pupil at Lochend Community High School, with elder brother Leo saying that the family’s world had come ‘crashing down’.

He added on Facebook: ‘My baby brother died at Balloch in the most horrible of ways. I’ll love you forever.’

Meanwhile, with Scotland baking in hot and sunny weather yesterday, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service urged people to exercise ‘extreme caution’ in rural areas as an alert for wildfires covering Easter Ross, the central Highlands and south-west Scotland moved to ‘very high risk’.

Deputy assistant chief officer

Alasdair Perry said: ‘Think twice before using anything involving a naked flame. Many rural and remote communitie­s are hugely impacted by wildfires.’

Achnagart in Wester Ross was the hottest place in Scotland yesterday at 80F (27C), while the mercury in Glasgow reached 77F (25.2C) with Edinburgh a cooler 67F (19.2C).

However, the sunny weather looks set to break tomorrow.

Sarah Kent of the Met Office said ‘It will be Monday morning before Scotland sees any rainfall. We have had only 37.3 per cent of our normal July total so far this month.’

‘Brother died in the most horrible of ways’

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