Safety review after mother and son drown at Aberdeen beach

The beach in Aberdeen has a number of lifesaving devices, most of which were brought to bear during the incident. Picture: Robert Perry
The beach in Aberdeen has a number of lifesaving devices, most of which were brought to bear during the incident. Picture: Robert Perry
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Public safety measures at Aberdeen beach are to be examined as part of an investigation into the deaths of a young boy and his mother.

The tragedy occurred after six-year-old Lucas Walker who was playing on the beach was swept away by heavy waves on Saturday afternoon. His mother, Julie Walker, 37, from Aberdeen, made a desperate attempt to rescue him. Lucas’s brother, 13-year-old Simon and members of the public also tried to help.

Emergency services were alerted at about 4:45pm.

Lifeguards operate at the beach part the year, working between noon and 4pm in the summer holidays.

Ross Greenhill, Aberdeen Coastguard coastal operations area commander, said: “There are lifeguards at certain times of the year, through the summer holidays for example, they finish at about 4pm most days.

“There are however a number of lifesaving devices along the beach, pretty much every life ring in the area was brought to bear during this incident.

“Some members of the public had got hold of these pieces of equipment and used them.”

Mr Greenhill added: “We will be working with Police Scotland on this investigation to find out what happened.

“We will also be speaking at some point to the local authority about safety systems that are in place, and we will look at whether there are any improvements that may be able to be made.”

Jenny Laing, Aberdeen City Council leader, said the incident would be examined to see if lessons could be learned.

“In addition to the Coastguard review, the Local Resilience Partnership which includes the City Council will be carrying out a multi-agency review of the rescue and recovery efforts to ensure any lessons can be learnt.”

Yesterday Graham Keith, 26, from Ellon in Aberdeenshire, who was in a nearby pizza restaurant with his pregnant fiancée Christina Whitfield described how he leapt into the sea to try to rescue Lucas and his mother.

“I couldn’t just stand there and watch. If that was my family I would want others to get out and help.

“I tried to get out to him for five minutes but then I got stuck and passers-by had to throw me a ring to pull me out.

“When I was in the water the screams stopped.

“It was very cold. It’s just tragic. It’s devastating what has happened. I had a sleepless night just thinking about it. It’s something you can never forget.”