Glasgow & West Scotland

'Heroic efforts' to save children from Argyll loch

Leia and Seth McCorrisken
Image caption Leia and Seth McCorrisken died when the car they were in went into Loch nan Druimnean on Wednesday afternoon

A coastguard volunteer has said members of the public made a "heroic effort" to find and save two young children after the car they were in went into a loch.

Leia McCorrisken, aged three, and her two-year-old brother Seth died in Wednesday's incident at Loch nan Druimnean in Argyll.

Iain MacKinnon, a volunteer with Oban Coastguard, said the car was submerged in deep water.

He said it was the saddest incident in his 30 years as a volunteer.

Following the crash, a 36-year-old woman who had been driving the car was understood to have been helped to shore by passers-by.

Members of the public also went into the loch, north of the village of Kilmelford, in an bid to rescue the children.

'Too deep'

One passer-by on the A816 Oban to Lochgilphead road where the incident happened told the Press & Journal newspaper he was one of the first on the scene following the crash.

Painter and decorator Jimmy McMahon, 24, from Lochgilphead, told the newspaper: "We arrived about 10 minutes after the car had hit the water.

"I tried my best to get to the car underwater but the car was far too deep down and the water was too murky."

Firefighters arriving at the scene also tried to reach the car, followed by members of Oban Coastguard who dived down to the vehicle.

Image caption The stretch of road on the A816 where the accident happened

Mr MacKinnon told BBC Scotland: "There were already huge efforts to get to the car when we arrived.

"The car was in very deep water. It was submerged and it couldn't be seen from the surface.

"The guys did their best to dive down to it.

"The water is very dark because there is a lot of peat in the area. The loch is also very cold, even in summertime the temperatures are about six or seven degrees.

"Passing motorists had also tried to get to the car as well as and those efforts can only be described as heroic."

Mr MacKinnon said some of the 12-strong coastguard team at the scene were among those who scoured the shore in the hope the children had escaped from the car.

Two coastguard helicopters and an air ambulance were also involved in the searches.

Mr MacKinnon said the thoughts of everyone involved in the rescue attempts were with the children's family.

He said: "I've been a volunteer coastguard for 30 years and this was the saddest incident I've ever been involved with. It is something you hoped never to have to experience."

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