NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Julie Walker and son Lucas named as Aberdeen beach victims

Lucas and Julie Walker
Image caption Julie Walker had gone into the sea to try to save her son, Lucas

A mother and son who died after getting into difficulty in the sea off Aberdeen have been named by police.

Six-year-old Lucas Walker was paddling in the water when he was swept out to sea. His mother, 37-year-old Julie Walker, tried to save him.

The pair, from Aberdeen, were both taken to hospital but did not survive.

Lucas's 13-year-old brother, Samuel, was also pulled from the water, along with a man and a woman. All three tried to save Ms Walker and her son.

Police Scotland said Samuel was making a "steady recovery" in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. A 25-year-old woman and 28-year-old man have been discharged.

Four other people have died in separate incidents in the seas around Britain over the weekend, with strong winds and high tides being blamed.

Ch Supt Campbell Thomson said police were continuing to investigate a "very tragic incident", with officers searching the beach and nearby rocks.

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Media captionChief Supt Campbell Thomson: "It is clear heroic attempts were made to save Julie and Lucas"

"It is clear heroic attempts were made to save Julie and Lucas by both on and off-duty police officers, emergency service personnel and members of the public, facing treacherous sea conditions and high winds during their rescue bid," he said.

"Their brave efforts cannot be overstated.

"I'd like to pay special tribute to Lucas's brother Samuel, who very bravely entered the water in an attempt to rescue his mother and brother."

Ch Supt Thomson urged people to be extremely careful near any body of water as conditions could change rapidly, even during the summer months.

The emergency services were alerted to the incident at about 16:45 Saturday.

One witness described the scene as "absolute chaos" and said she had seen bodies floating in the water.

Image copyright NEWSLINE MEDIA
Image caption There was a huge response by emergency services to the incident on Saturday
Image caption Flowers have been left at the scene of the deaths on Aberdeen beach

Another witness, Emma Anderson, told the BBC she had heard sirens and police "frantically" telling people to evacuate the area.

"The whole boulevard was covered in ambulances and police. We overheard there was a body in the water and we saw what seemed to be the body of a small child floating lifelessly in the sea," she said.

"This is something that will forever be in my mind. Not something I ever expected to see on a fun day out with my kids. Heartbreaking for all involved."

Aberdeen City Council Leader, Jenny Laing, said: "The tragic incident at Aberdeen beach has resulted in a mother and young son sadly losing their lives.

"My thoughts are with the family and friends of those affected at this time and those who remain in hospital following yesterday's events. Aberdeen City Council is providing support to the family during this difficult time."

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said some people had been pulled out of the water by police and others had been rescued by the RNLI inshore lifeboat.

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