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Last Updated: Monday, 8 May 2006, 16:13 GMT 17:13 UK
Family's tribute to drowned girl
Zoe Skea
Zoe was described as a popular and caring girl
Relatives and classmates have paid tribute to a "special" 10-year-old girl who drowned during a family day out at a popular beauty spot on Royal Deeside.

Zoe Skea, from Aberdeen, fell into the fast-flowing water at the Linn of Quoich near Mar Lodge, Braemar.

Her body was found after a five-hour search operation.

Her family said in a statement: "We are devastated at the tragic loss of our very special girl. Zoe touched the hearts of everyone she met."

The statement said: "Zoe was a happy, carefree, considerate, loveable girl.

She will be missed by everyone... Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to her family
Jayne Glover
Culter Primary School

"We will miss Zoe very much and would appreciate privacy at this time.

"We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the mountain rescue, Grampian Fire and Rescue Service, police and everyone else who helped bring Zoe back."

Classmates at Zoe's school Culter Primary were told of the tragedy on Monday morning.

'Getting support'

They drew a picture of primary five pupil Zoe playing football, and also wrote poems in her memory.

One pupil wrote: "The last word Zoe Skea said to me was 'see you on Monday'. That made me upset today."

Another classmate tribute said: "Zoe was a very nice girl and I just wish she was still here."

Drawing of Zoe Skea (right) by classmates
Devastated classmates drew a picture of Zoe playing football

After breaking the news, head teacher Jayne Glover said: "Zoe was a very caring and conscientious 10-year-old who was popular amongst her friends.

"We're all stunned and deeply saddened by Zoe's tragic and premature death.

"She was an active member of the pupil council, she worked hard, was loyal and was keen to succeed.

"She will be missed by everyone at Culter. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to her family and we are keen to support them in any way we can.

"The children are coping, those who are very upset are getting support."

Zoe had been enjoying a day out with her family on Sunday afternoon when she fell into the water and was swept downstream.

A man who leapt in was also swept away but managed to scramble onto the bank.

Rescuers recovered Zoe's body after a long and complex operation.

Officials at the Mar Lodge estate, which is run by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS), met on Monday to discuss the incident.

Linn of Quoich
Zoe was with her family at Linn of Quoich when she fell

Glenn Corr, NTS north east director, said: "Our thoughts are very much with the family of the young girl at this tragic time.

"We also want to express our thanks to the mountain rescue and emergency services teams whose professionalism and bravery was outstanding under very difficult circumstances".

The NTS will help with the police inquiry and will also carry out an internal investigation.

Insp Dave Allan, from Grampian Police, said: "The speed and weight of the water made it very difficult for the underwater search unit to gain access to the place where we thought the girl was trapped.

"The sheer rock face meant that our mountain rescue team had to engage in some fairly dangerous and risky operations to try and gain access to the water."

Watch the tributes to Zoe Skea

Missing schoolgirl found in river
07 May 06 |  North East/N Isles

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