Page last updated at 17:33 GMT, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 18:33 UK

Family's tears over cadet search

Kaylee McIntosh
Kaylee McIntosh was from Fyvie in Aberdeenshire

The family of an Army cadet who died on a training exercise broke down in tears when a fatal accident inquiry was told of the confused search for the girl.

Kaylee McIntosh, 14, of Fyvie, Aberdeenshire, drowned after the boat she was in capsized on Loch Carnan, South Uist, last August.

Coastguard volunteer Joseph Johnstone told Inverness Sheriff Court searchers were given the wrong location.

The team was mistakenly sent to North Uist at one stage.

Mr Johnstone, station officer on Benbecula, told the inquiry a lifeboat and search and rescue helicopter were stood down after emergency services were told no-one was missing.

The lifeboat and helicopter were later called back out when the Coastguard volunteer heard a cadet instructor on the phone asking for a head count and was told a girl was missing.

Recording played

During his evidence, Mr Johnstone said his team were asked to go to Loch Skiport, in South Uist, then turn back to Loch Ebort, North Uist, before receiving an instruction to head back to Skiport.

He finished his evidence by criticising the Army Cadet Force for their lack of organisation.

Kaylee's body was found under the upturned vessel by another Coastguard volunteer.

A recording was played in court of the mayday call made to Stornoway Coastguard, and the confusion there was.

Another message was also broadcast saying that all the people who had gone into the water had been rescued.

However the messages are short and difficult to hear because of the poor communications on the loch where the boat had capsized.

A 'disaster'

A coastguard officer is heard on the recording talking to a colleague, saying that one message was just "was just screaming and shouting" and that unless they could get clearer information there would be a "disaster".

One army cadet instructor is heard on the recording being castigated by a coastguard officer for his failure to communicate the boat's position properly.

The officer told the army cadet instructor: "We were working blind here. Especially as you are away with children you should let us know when you depart to do these things."

The inquiry previously heard from other witnesses on the capsized boat that no roll call or list of names was taken on the day of the exercise.

The inquiry, before Sheriff Alastair MacFadyen, continues.

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