I will never forget him, says mother of boy swept out to sea

THE mother who saw her three-year-old son swept out to sea by a giant wave as he played on the front with his older sister has spoken of her heartbreak.

In an emotional tribute, Jadwiga Cieraszewska said: “Eryk will be sadly missed by all the family. We will never forget him.”

Scores of people on the seafront at Kirkcaldy on Saturday afternoon watched in horror as the youngster was dragged into the sea by a wave which swept through a gap in the sea wall.

Yesterday bunches of flowers were left at the scene.

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Witnesses said fire officers had waded into the sea to try to rescue the child after he was pulled into the water in the freak accident.

Fife councillor Mark Hood, who witnessed the rescue efforts, said: “It was quite a horrific scene. There was frantic action from everyone.”

Mr Hood watched as police on the seafront guided a lifeboat crew to where the toddler was floating in the water.

As Eryk was taken to a waiting ambulance, his distraught mother ran down the seafront.

Mr Hood said: “The sheer anguish of the mother will stay with people for a long time.”

Mr Hood called for safety measures along the seafront to be re-examined.

“This seems to have been a very tragic accident, but we should take the opportunity to readdress the question of safety and look to see what we can do to strengthen it.”

Bernice Robson wrote in a blog: “My husband, kids and I were a few feet away when we realised that a woman had lost something in water. It was only a few mins later that my husband noticed it was a little boy … he tried to hook him with a life ring but unfortunately the boy was already washed too far out by the waves.”

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Police confirmed yesterday that the toddler was not washed over the sea wall as was originally reported, but had been pulled through a gap in the sea wall.

Yesterday, a Fife council spokeswoman clarified that an ongoing £9 million upgrade into the sea wall, which will raise it by a metre, was to prevent coastal erosion and was not intended to improve safety along the seafront.

Dr Bob McLellan, head of transportation and environmental services, said: “This is a real tragedy and on behalf of Fife Council I extend my deepest condolences to the family. It appears to be a freak accident, the like of which we’ve never seen before in Kirkcaldy.”

Bob Abercrombie, watch manager of the Forth Coastguard, said it had taken 12 minutes for the Kinghorn lifeboat to reach the scene and that lifeboat crew had tried to resuscitate the child.

“Any circumstance like that is upsetting, but with this being such a young child it becomes more poignant,” he said. “With something like this we feel for the people who are left behind.”

Fife Police asked for the family of the child to be left alone.

It is understood the mother, who is separated from her children’s father, had only recently moved to Kirkcaldy where she worked in a chip shop. She also has a six-year-old daughter, who was at the scene of the accident.

Kirkcaldy North Primary School head teacher Carolyn McFarlane said: “Eryk had started nursery this session and he was such a happy child, it was a pleasure to have him in the nursery. We’re so saddened to hear of this tragedy.

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“Our thoughts are with Eryk’s family at this time and we will offer them any support we can.”