The mother of a young man from Fife who tragically lost his life last summer at a local beauty spot is warning of the dangers of open water.
Keivan Ulhaq, 20, had been socialising with friends at Lochore Meadows, known locally as ‘The Meedies’, when he entered the water on a Saturday evening last June.
His mum Sheena Ulhaq says that despite him being a strong and active young man he got into difficulty.
Sheena, who lives in Cowdenbeath with Keivan’s eight siblings and husband Nisar, wants to prevent anyone else going through the tragic events of 20 June last year.
She said: ‘Keivan was happy go lucky and he loved life. He doted on his younger brothers and sisters. We all miss him so much.
‘On the day he died I remember the weather was really nice and I was at home decorating.
‘He had gone to The Meedies with some friends, but the water was still freezing cold despite the weather.
‘Keivan was really active and was always doing back flips, especially if we were at the beach then he’d do back flips into the water.
‘But that day he struggled despite being a six-foot big strapping lad. He suffered cold-water shock and had a cardiac arrest.
‘It’s really important that people are aware of the dangers of open water because I wouldn’t want this to happen to anyone else.
‘I’m so grateful for all the support I’ve had, since Keivan died, from everyone who knows the family and I thank them from the bottom of my heart.’
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service was alerted to the incident at Lochore Meadows last June and mobilised two appliances and a water-rescue unit to the scene to assist emergency-service partners.
Deputy Assistant Chief Officer Alasdair Perry said: ‘We are grateful to Sheena for speaking about her story, and the tragic circumstances in which Keivan lost his life, to improve the safety of others.
‘We want people to stay safe around water this summer. However, our crews regularly respond to emergency calls from people in difficulty who need to be rescued.
‘We all like heading outdoors at this time of year, but unsupervised water can be extremely dangerous.
‘Open water can become very cold just a few feet under the surface and can cause cramps or cold-water shock meaning your strength and ability to swim deteriorates rapidly.’
Since Keivan’s death, SFRS has worked with partners to install new water-safety signs and lifesaving throwline equipment at Lochore Meadows to protect the public.
Sheena Ulhaq is also raising funds for more equipment, including a defibrillator.
Station Commander Michael Gemmell, based in Fife, said: ‘What happened to Keivan was a tragedy and it’s devastating for everyone who knew him.
‘Unless you are fully trained, competent and equipped to enter water courses, keep a safe distance from water.
‘This isn’t about spoiling anyone’s fun, it’s about preventing anyone else from needlessly losing their life.’
For more information, please visit: www.firescotland.gov.uk/your-safety/water-safety