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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 January, 2005, 16:50 GMT
Community shock over storm deaths
The deaths have shocked a close community
A school teacher on South Uist has described how the tight-knit community is in shock following tragic deaths among a local family.

The bodies of five-year-old Hannah, Archie MacPherson, 36, his wife Murdina, 37, and her father Calum Campbell, 67 have been found.

Search teams are continuing to look for seven-year-old Andrew.

Headteacher Mary MacInnes said local people are very upset.

The men's bodies were found near a causeway between South Uist and Benbecula on Wednesday and Murdina's body was found later in the day.

Hannah's body was found on Thursday afternoon.

It's a real great tragedy. Everyone in this community knows each other and it's been a terrific blow for us
Donald MacdonaldNeighbour

The family is thought to have left the MacPhersons' home in South Uist in two cars on Tuesday evening to escape rising flood water.

Ms MacInnes told BBC Radio Scotland of the dismay felt throughout a tight-knit community.

She said: "There was a lot of interaction with these people and in a small community - the school has just under 70 pupils - everyone knows everyone else and Murdina being the secretary at the local school was everyone's first point of call.

"People are just dreading going out and searching for the bodies that are missing.

'Degree of realism'

Donald Macdonald, 51, from Benbecula, echoed the headteacher's sentiments.

He said: "It's a real great tragedy. Everyone in this community knows each other and it's been a terrific blow for us.

"Archie and Murdina were a tip-top couple, a lovely couple to have in the community and it's just so sad."

Another neighbour, Andrew MacKinnon, 52, said: "Everyone is just stunned that this could happen, they were all very, very nice people.

"It's a terrible loss to our community. This will haunt us all for many years to come."

Local MSP Alasdair Morrison told BBC Scotland's news website it was a tragedy for the community.

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13 Jan 05 |  Scotland
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10 Jan 05 |  Scotland
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08 Jan 05 |  Scotland


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