Friday, 16 August 2013

Petition demands action after tragic deaths

Members of the local community have united to demand action after two young men drowned in a tragic accident last Monday (August 5).

Saltcoats man Sean Marshall (20) and 17-year-old Ross Munn from Ardrossan had entered the water at the Mill Dam reservoir north of Ardrossan at around 8:00pm. It is still unclear exactly what happened next, but the men did not resurface and friends immediately called for assistance from emergency services.

Officers from Police Scotland and Scottish Fire & Rescue attended. Divers from the Police Underwater Unit searched the reservoir, and the tragic news that Sean and Ross had drowned was confirmed shortly before midnight.

Devastated friends took to social networking sites Facebook and Twitter to post condolences and share memories of the two men.

The following day locals began walking to the dam to lay flowers at the scene. Handwritten messages were also left next to the water, while Celtic and Rangers football strips were tied to a barrier.

An Ardrossan mum who contacted the3towns said local people were very upset that two young men had died in such tragic circumstances. Expressing condolences to the men’s families, the woman also called for action to make the Mill Dam safer. the3towns passed concerns to Ardrossan councillors John Hunter and Tony Gurney, both of whom made contact with residents in relation to supporting a petition calling on the reservoir’s owners, Scottish Water, to look at implementing measures that would prevent a similar tragedy from occurring again.

A representative of Scottish Water said it was not “common practice” to fence-off such sites, but indicated the company would “assist the police with their enquiries” into the deaths. The spokesperson added, “We extend our sympathies to the families of the two people involved in the incident.”

The Mill Dam reservoir is no longer used as part of the infrastructure of the local water supply. As Ardrossan has expanded northward, the stretch of water has become within easy walking distance and many young people congregated at the site on warm summer evenings.

Police Scotland confirmed there are no suspicious circumstances relating to the deaths of Sean and Ross, and that a report into the incident in which they drowned has been made to the Procurator Fiscal.

As of Friday afternoon (August 9), a Facebook page ‘Rest in peace Sean Paul Marshall and Ross Munn’ had attracted over 5,000 ‘Likes’. In addition, a petition, organised by Ardrossan man Ian Gibb and hosted on the website, had been signed by more than 800 people. The petition calls on Scottish Water to “contain or make the Mill Dam reservoir safe”.

Accompanying the petition, Mr Gibb says, “As a community we are shocked and saddened by recent events at Mill Dam reservoir, Ardrossan, where two young males tragically lost their lives. Due to this, I am petitioning Scottish Water and the Scottish Parliament to investigate the safety of the reservoir and implement changes so that these catastrophic events do not shake this community again.”

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