Three people died in the northern stretch of Loch Lomond. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Three people died in the northern stretch of Loch Lomond. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Police in Scotland have warned of the dangers of entering lochs and rivers after a number of people died in water incidents over the weekend.

A nine-year-old boy was among a group of three who lost their lives in Loch Lomond on Saturday.

A 41-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman also died at the scene, and a boy aged seven is in intensive care in the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow after the incident near Pulpit Rock, south of Ardlui. Emergency services were alerted about 6.40pm but the three people were pronounced dead at the scene.

The previous day, a 16-year-old youth lost his life after getting into difficulties at Balloch Country Park at the southern end of the loch.

The body of an 11-year-old boy was recovered from the water at Alexander Hamilton Memorial Park in Stonehouse after the alarm was raised about 4.30pm on Saturday. Less than an hour and a half later, another call was made reporting concern for a person in the river at Hazelbank, Lanark. Emergency workers found the body of a 13-year-old boy on Sunday.

Police Scotland said its officers are keen to speak to a family who were in the area at the time of this Pulpit Rock incident and may be able to help with enquiries.

Formal identification has still to take place in relation to each the incidents and full reports will be submitted to the procurator fiscal, they said.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams said: “The number of deaths in open water this weekend is hard to comprehend and my thoughts are with the families and loved ones of those affected.

“The warm weather can make open-water swimming and paddling very inviting but it is extremely dangerous, even for the most experienced swimmers or supervised children. The conditions can change very quickly and there are often hidden risks like deeper water and strong currents.

“The message I want to send to everyone is exercise extreme caution. It is better to keep a safe distance from water if possible.

“Tragically, this weekend has highlighted that open water is very, very dangerous. If you see someone in the water and distressed call 999 immediately. Remember, you could get into difficulty yourself trying to help so please take care and seek help as soon as possible.”

Gordon Watson, chief executive of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, said: “Further to the incident on Friday in which a young man died, another tragic incident has taken place on Loch Lomond over the weekend.

“Our boat team took part in a multi-agency search operation in the north end of Loch Lomond on Saturday evening led by Police Scotland after a group of people got into difficulty in the water.

“Tragically, three people, including a child, have lost their lives.

“First and foremost I want to extend my deepest sympathies to the loved ones of those who have died. I also want to thank all of those involved in the search and recovery operations. This has undoubtedly been one of the worst weekends in the national park’s history.

“We work hard to help people enjoy the waters of the national park safely and responsibly using a range of measures, including new safety equipment on our sites, clear signage and safety campaigns in the summer months.

“Over the coming days we will, along with our partners, reflect on the events of this weekend and discuss what more can be done by us all to prevent further tragedies in our lochs.”

In England, a member of the public discovered the body of a man at Crummock Water in the Lake District. This followed a major search that began 10 days ago after reports of someone getting into difficulties in the lake.

The body was found near the Cinderdale car park about 9am on Saturday.

Cumbria Constabulary said: “The man’s family have been made aware of the developments. No formal identification has yet taken place.”

On Friday evening Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team was alerted when a man was reported to have suffered a head injury when he went into Ullswater near the Inn on the Lake in Glenridding.

Police requested the team’s help about 10.30pm.

A team spokesperson said: “The deputy team leader was on scene quickly and at that point a boat on the lakes had managed to rescue the male to bring him back to shore. The police stood the team down once the male was safely back on dry land.”

The Patterdale team was also involved in a search at Brothers Water on Tuesday, when a man in his 30s from Newcastle was reported to be in difficulties in the lake, shortly before 7pm. Team members, ambulance crews, fire and rescue service members, Coastguard staff and police underwater search officers joined the operation, but a man’s body was found the following day.

In the Yorkshire Dales, a teenager died in the River Wharfe near Grassington when he got into difficulties in the water on Thursday evening.

Ambulance staff alerted police to the incident about 7.45pm and Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association members also joined paramedics in treating the 19-year-old but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

North Yorkshire Police said enquiries into the incident are continuing.

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