Two die as raft capsizes on swollen river

AN OFF-DUTY policeman and a teenage girl died yesterday when an inflatable raft capsized on the river Orchy in the west Highlands, writes John Arlidge. The girl, six police officers, including her father, and two instructors were white-water rafting when the boat overturned in the river, which was swollen by torrential rain and melting snow.

The victims were named as Ailidh Reitze, 17, from Cumbernauld, and Sgt George Westwood, 37, who was stationed at Newarthill in Lanarkshire. The accident happened at about 1pm in Glen Orchy, four miles south-west of Bridge of Orchy. Five officers and the instructors scrambled to safety as they were swept downstream towards Loch Awe. One raised the alarm at a local farm and mountain rescue teams from Oban and Dumbarton were called out.

A Sea King helicopter from HMS Gannett in Ayrshire recovered Sgt Westwood's body from bushes by the riverbank. Miss Reitze's body was found in open water.

Her father, Inspector David Reitze, 37, stationed at Bellshill in Lanarkshire, was flown to a Glasgow hospital where he was treated for back injuries. The other survivors were treated for shock and hypothermia.

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