Two young brothers have died and their father is missing after a six-man canoe capsized in a sea loch in the Scottish Highlands.
The brothers, aged three and five, died in hospital after being rescued by helicopter from Loch Gairloch, where their canoe overturned yesterday afternoon.
The search for their 34-year-old father, which resumed this morning, has now become a mission to recover his body.
Another family, two girls and their father, were also on board the canoe when it capsized in an area of water near the Big Sands caravan site during what is understood to be a daytrip. It is unknown what caused the vessel to go down.
One of the girls, aged five, was airlifted to Broadford Hospital in Skye after being plucked from the loch. She has since been transferred to Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow, where she remains seriously ill.
Her father, 35, who managed to swim ashore with his other daughter, aged 8, is at her bedside.
The little girl and her father reached the shore unscathed and ran to nearby houses shouting for help, triggering the emergency response on Sunday.
Sky News Scotland correspondent James Matthews said: “While this is clearly a story of terrible tragedy, it is something of a tale of remarkable survival on the part of the eight-year-old in particular, who must have swum something like two or three hundred metres to safety on the shore.”
Both families involved are from the Black Isle in the North of Scotland.
Mr Matthews said it is understood the adults in the canoe had not been wearing life jackets. The children wore buoyancy aids, but not the type that keeps a person afloat and upright in the event of unconsciousness.
Gairloch and Lochinver coastguard rescue teams renewed their search for the missing man on the shoreline and outlying islands on Monday morning. They are being helped by other local vessels and the Portree and Lochinver RNLI lifeboats.
Rain and winds are forecast for much of the day in the area and choppy waters are understood to have made conditions more difficult for the teams.
Carol Collins, Stornoway Coastguard Watch Manager said: “The weather is less favourable for searching today than yesterday but units have been out searching since first light.
“Sadly at this stage the search and rescue phase has now moved to a recovery mission.”
Murdo Macaulay, of Stornoway Coastguard, earlier said it was not yet known what caused the boat to capsize.
He told Sky News: “The actual vessel itself was what’s called a Canadian canoe, an open canoe.
“The area around Big Sands is very popular with tourists. A lot of water sports generally take place there.
“To our knowledge there are no particular hazards in that area, sea-wise. It’s not particularly remote by west coast standards. We had a lot of craft in the area yesterday who responded and were involved in yesterday’s rescue operation.”
Inquiries into the incident are ongoing.
Article source: http://news.sky.com/story/977446