Scotland’s water safety meeting chaired by minister after seven drowned

A meeting has been held following a tragic weekend of drowning in Scotland’s waters which cost the lives of seven people.

Scottish community safety minister Ash Denmham chaired a meeting of emergency services and other organisations following the space of incidents last month.

In the last week of July, an 11-year-old boy died in a river at Stonehouse, a 13-year-old lost his life in water at Hazelbank in Lanark, while a 16-year-old boy died at Balloch at the south end of Loch Lomond.

The following day, Edina Olahova, 29, Rana Haris Ali, nine, and Muhammad Asim Riaz, 39, died after getting into difficulty in the water near Pulpit Rock at Loch Lomond.

Aman Sharma, a 34-year-old, was the seventh to die. He passed away in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow after being rescued from Loch Lubnaig.

READ MORE: Loch Lomond drownings: Bosses hold urgent talks after tragedies

In response, Ash Denham convened a meeting with Police Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, the Scottish Ambulance Service and the Coastguard. 

Along with representatives of Scottish Canals, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, the RNLI, Water Safety Scotland and Education Scotland, among others.

Following the meeting, Ms Denham said: “The Scottish Government takes water safety very seriously and this meeting was an opportunity for us to engage with key partners and reflect on the recent tragic incidents and look at what more can be done to mitigate risks and to educate people about the dangers of Scotland’s coastal and inland waters.

“Beautiful and enticing as they often appear, Scotland’s waters can be a source of lethal danger, as we saw with the heart-breaking loss of lives this summer.

“I was heartened to hear a real determination and unity of purpose at Wednesday’s meeting for everyone to work together to improve water safety and I am encouraged all participants agreed not only to review their own organisation’s approach and performance, but also to work collaboratively so that key, consistent messages get across to the public.

“We have agreed to come together again in a few weeks’ time to assess what further effort is required to ensure greater protection for the public in future.”

Widower Waris Ali previously told how he tried in vain to save Olahova. He said they had stopped at the beauty spot as they headed home from Skye.

The children were 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 his wife saw the children drowning and the adults jumped in to save them.

He spoke of trying to save his wife: “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 then went to go and get help.”

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992