SIX people, including four boys, died in the space of 24 hours while swimming in Scottish waters as Loch Lomond recorded “one of the worst weekends in its history” for fatalities.

A man, a woman and a nine-year-old boy died after getting into difficulty near Pulpit Rock at the Ardlui end of the loch on Saturday evening.

Edina Olahova, 29, and her son Rana Haris Ali, nine, died alongside 41-year-old family friend Mohammad Asim Raza.

Mr Raza’s seven-year-old son was said to be critically ill in intensive care at the Royal Hospital for Children, in Glasgow.

Meanwhile, the body of a 13-year-old boy was recovered from the River Clyde at Hazelbank, near Lanark, yesterday morning after emergency services were called to an incident on Saturday.

It followed the deaths of a 16-year-old, named as Connor Markward, at Balloch Country Park on Friday and an 11-year-old in waters near Stonehouse, South Lanarkshire, on Saturday afternoon as temperatures across Scotland soared, reaching 29C (84.2) in Dumfries and Galloway.

READ MORE: SFRS issue warning following number of water rescue incidents

Police urged people to “exercise extreme caution” while swimming in rivers and lochs.

The First Minister sent a message of condolence to the families affected by the tragedies.

She said: “This is heartbreaking – my thoughts and condolences are with the loved ones of those who have lost their lives in the water over the past couple of days. In Scotland, we have some of the most beautiful lochs and rivers in the world – but if swimming in them, please take care.”

Gordon Watson, chief executive of Loch Lomond National Park Authority, said it worked hard to promote water safety over the summer months but confirmed that talks will be held with police and the local authorities involved to discuss what more can be done to prevent further tragedies.

Police Scotland said it was called to a report of concerns for people in Loch Lomond at around 6.40pm on Saturday.

Connor died in the water at Balloch Country Park, at the south end of Loch Lomond, on Friday and an 11-year-old boy was pronounced dead at the scene after being found in the river at Alexander Hamilton Memorial Park in Stonehouse, South Lanarkshire, on Saturday afternoon.

Police said formal identification has still to take place in relation to each incident and full reports will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

Gordon Mr Watson, Chief Executive of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, said: “Further to the incident on Friday in which a young man died, another tragic incident has taken place on Loch Lomond over 
the weekend.

READ MORE: Loch Lomond National Park to examine swim safety after succession of deaths

“Our boat team took part in a multi-agency search operation in the north end of Loch Lomond on Saturday evening led by Police Scotland after a group of people got into difficulty in the water. Tragically, three people, including a child, have lost their lives.

“First and foremost I want to extend my deepest sympathies to the loved ones of those who have died. I also want to thank all of those involved in the search and recovery operations. This has undoubtedly been one of the worst weekends in the National Park’s history.

“We work hard to help people enjoy the waters of the National Park safely and responsibly using a range of measures, including new safety equipment on our sites, clear signage and safety campaigns in the summer months.

“Over the coming days we will, along with our partners, reflect on the events of this weekend and discuss what more can be done by us all to prevent further tragedies in our lochs.”

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution warns that the effect on the body when entering water below 15C is often underestimated and the shock caused can be a precursor to drowning.

Average UK and Ireland sea temperatures are just 12C, which can affect breathing and movement.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams said even experienced swimmers could face difficulties in open water.

He added: “The number of deaths in open water this weekend is hard to comprehend and my thoughts are 
with the families and loved ones of those affected. 

“The warm weather can make open water swimming and paddling very inviting but it is extremely dangerous, even for the most experienced swimmers or supervised children.

“The conditions can change very quickly and there are often hidden risks like deeper water and strong currents.

“The message I want to send to everyone is exercise extreme caution.
It is better to keep a safe distance from water if possible.

“Tragically, this weekend has highlighted that open water is very, 
very dangerous.”

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) also issued a warning about 
the dangers of cold water shock in warm weather.

SFRS Chief Officer Martin Blunden said: “Please, please make sure your loved ones, adults and children know how to behave around inland water.

“Yesterday was a tragic day for families and the first responder family. I am certain that all those affected thought it’s just water – it isn’t, it can also kill.”

Outdoor swimming has surged in popularity through the pandemic while the hot weather has encouraged more people to take part in watersports including paddle boarding.

To minimise risk, RNLI advice states that anyone who finds themselves unexpectedly in cold water should first take a minute and not try to swim straight away to allow the initial effects of cold water to pass.

They are then advised to relax and float on their backs in order to catch breath and try to get a hold of something that can help them float. 

People experiencing cold water shock should keep calm and then call for help, or swim to safety if they are able to.