Father tells of Lake Garda boat tragedy

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The Independent Online
A FATHER who survived a motor-boat tragedy on Lake Garda that claimed three lives told yesterday how he tied a friend's six-year-old son to the capsized vessel hours before the rescue. John Lilley was quoted as saying he held Luke Harris in his arms as he died.

"I kept feeling him go. I was scared for him and kept shaking him. Just before dawn I felt him go. I tried to resuscitate him but he was so cold." He then tied Luke's body to the boat so that he could help his own daughter Alison.

Luke's father, Richard, 50, a head teacher, was swept to his death as the boat capsized when it was caught in a storm on the north Italian lake on Wednesday, a police spokesman said.

Mr Lilley, 44, who lives in Aberdeen, his children Andrew, 15, and Alison, plus Mr Harris's wife Katherine, 42, Luke and Timothy, 13, clung to the hull for hours in the hope of being rescued. Mrs Harris, from Bedfordshire, and the Lilleys were rescued by workmen cleaning the lake after the storm.

Last night rescuers were still searching for Timothy, who disappeared several hours after his father was lost. Mr Lilley tied Luke to the boat at 6am and two hours after that the survivors were spotted.

Police said they understood from Mr Lilley that he was not sure if Luke was alive or dead when he tied him to the boat to stop him being swept away. However, he thought he was probably dead.

Mr Lilley, the two children and Mrs Harris were still in hospital yesterday, suffering the effects of exposure from their night in the water. It was not known when Mr Lilley, the children and Mr Lilley's wife Jane, who did not go on the boat trip, would return to Aberdeen.

Mrs Harris was expected to remain in hospital for several more days.