The heartbroken family of a 12-year-old girl who drowned in a river in Scotland have criticised onlookers who filmed the search and rescue efforts rather than helping.
Ava Gray died in the River Leven in Balloch, Dunbartonshire, after getting into difficulty in the water with two other children on August 9.
Police Scotland officers were called to the scene at the foot of Loch Lomond at about 6.45pm but the search ended with Ava’s body being recovered from the water at 9.45pm.
As Ava’s family prepared for the young child’s funeral today at Clydebank Crematorium, her loved ones asked why some onlookers decided to film the tragedy unfold rather than try and help her
Ava’s aunt Jamie Gillies told The Daily Record: ‘Absolutely disgusted to hear more people were interested in videoing or Snapchatting the ‘drama’ and rescue to their friends.
‘If any one of those people put as much effort into helping the kids we may not be here. I genuinely worry for our future if this is people’s priority.’
‘Think before you act. Always think of others. Be careful what you say on social media and remember that grieving and distressed families can see your posts.’
Ms Gillies is now calling on parents to educate their children about the dangers of being near water and also hopes to speak with West Dunbartonshire Council about steps they can take to inform students about staying safe.
Following Ava’s death, her dance teacher Holly Douglas paid tribute to her on Facebook, saying: ‘My dancing angel, I am heartbroken.
‘Words can’t describe the way I feel, Ava. We all love you so, so much. You will never be forgotten at Full Out.
‘You will always be part of our team and our family. The world is a cruel place, thinking of all the family right now. Ava, I love you so, so much.’
She later set up a GoFundMe page for the family, writing: ‘Our gorgeous angel Ava Gray tragically died in a horrible accident in the River Leven in Balloch.
‘We are all absolutely heartbroken and devastated, words cannot even describe our feelings. Ava was the funniest most crazy girl at our dance school and she never failed to make me laugh and smile.
‘I am writing as Ava’s dance teacher that you please, please help to raise some money for Ava’s family at this awful time.
‘Leanne, Jamie and all family, I love you all so so much. Ava, our dancing angel girl, we love you forever and ever.’
Following the child’s death last week a police spokesman said: ‘Around 6.45pm on Sunday, 9 August, police were called to a report of a 12-year-old girl in difficulty in the River Leven, near Balloch Bridge.
‘Emergency services attended and searches were carried out. Around 9.45pm, the young girl was recovered from the water. Sadly she was pronounced dead at the scene.’
Police, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency were all involved in the search and had earlier asked the public to avoid the area.
Enquiries are ongoing, but police are not treating the death as suspicious. A full report will be sent to the Procurator Fiscal.