Canal safety message after girl’s near miss

Tiegan Speirs (12) who fell in the canal.
Tiegan Speirs (12) who fell in the canal.

A mum has issued an urgent safety warning after her daughter plunged into a canal on one of the coldest days of the year.

And that’s been backed up by Scottish Canals who have warned everyone to take care when near bodies of water in East Dunbartonshire.

Tiegan Speirs (12), a first year pupil at Bishopbriggs Academy, was rushed to Yorkhill Hospital for treatment after having to swim her way through the ice to escape.

Now mum Amanda is warning youngsters not to get too close to the water’s edge of the Forth and Clyde Canal.

Mum Amanda said: ‘‘There was nobody about to shout to for help. She had to swim about two metres in the canal water until she came to dock and try to pull herself out.

‘‘She was in the water for five to ten minutes and she had to move the ice out of the way to swim. I don’t know how she managed to get herself out.

‘‘We took her to Yorkhill to be checked out as she was so cold. I want to warn other children to stay back from the canal. I cannot believe she is still with us. I am just shocked that after her body hitting that cold water she was able to swim away. We are so lucky that she took swimming lessons.’’

Alasdair Smart, Lowland Canals waterway manager, said: “This was no doubt a frightening experience and we’re extremely relieved that Tiegan is okay. This incident highlights the risk canals, like any body of open water, can pose and the need for members of the public to take extra care when walking near them, especially in winter.

“Frozen waterways, whilst incredibly picturesque, can also be very dangerous. Bridges, banks and lock-sides can be particularly slippery during the winter months and snow can conceal trip hazards such as boat mooring rings close to the water’s edge.

“Children in particular should always be accompanied by an adult when they visit the canals and should be made aware of the potential hazards. We encourage everyone to enjoy the waterways this winter but, no matter what their age, to stay safe and stay away from the edge.”