Gair Loch canoe tragedy: Your little sister has passed away, eight-year-old girl told
THE death of canoe victim Gracie Mackay was yesterday broken to her eight-year-old sister, Callie, who swam ashore to raise the alarm.
Five-year-old Gracie, described by her family in Muir of Ord as a “beautiful angel”, lost her fight for life at Yorkhill hospital in Glasgow, 24 hours after Sunday’s accident on a sea loch at Gairloch, Wester Ross.
News of the death was kept from Callie until yesterday. Her father Garry also survived the ordeal.
The tragedy claimed the lives of brothers Jamie Beaton, two, and five-year-old Ewen, from Beauly, Inverness-shire.
A search for their father Ewen, 32, who is feared drowned, continued yesterday, but was being considered as a “recovery operation”.
Gracie’s grandfather, John Mackay, of Inverness, said Callie was told of her sister’s death at an emotional family gathering yesterday morning.
Speaking at the family home, Mr Mackay snr said: “Callie is being told her sister has just passed away. The family is gathering to tell Callie this. Garry is in a hell of a state, the whole family is.
“When we were in the hospital, we thought there was a little bit of hope that Gracie could pull through, but it never happened.”
He added: “Garry and Ewen were great mates. They had been fishing literally thousands of times together. They had been hill-climbing all over the Highlands together. They both doted on the children and they took the kids on outings like this on a regular basis.
“They had been on boats many, many times together and I believe they had been out on the canoe many times together. They had been on a day trip together, but we don’t know if they had had the kids out on the sea before.”
The little girls’ family, meanwhile, issued a statement through Northern Constabulary, stating: “Grace was a funny, caring, thoughtful daughter and granddaughter, full of life who loved animals and being outdoors.
“She adored her family and was our beautiful angel. We are devastated by the loss of our best friend.”
Tracy Sinclair, Gracie’s headteacher at Tarradale Primary in Muir of Ord, wrote to parents: “Gracie Mackay was a happy, thoughtful little girl who was popular and well liked by everybody.
“This has come as a shock to the whole school community and we are all deeply saddened. During the coming days, it is important that we support the pupils and each other as much as we can. Support is being provided to the school by the educational psychologists.
“On this sad occasion, our thoughts turn at the first instance to Gracie’s family, and I know that you will join us in sending not only our condolences but our support during this very difficult time.”
Gracie was plucked from the water following the capsize on Sunday afternoon.
She was recovered by a local campsite owner, who found her face-down and unconscious in the water with a buoyancy aid on.
Gracie was taken to Broadford Hospital on Skye before being transferred to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Yorkhill, Glasgow, where she died on Monday with parents Garry and Wendy Macdonald at her side.
Meanwhile, the family of Ewen Beaton, from Ruisarrie, near Beauly, and his sons yesterday released new photographs of the trio. Mr Beaton worked as a digger driver for a local contractor and was the son of a popular postman, Roddy, who lived nearby.
The deaths of all three children after the canoeing accident have devastated the small
communities where they had lived.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east