A petition has been launched to drain and fill-in a “death trap” quarry, which this week claimed its third victim in less than three years.
Diver Kelda Henderson’s body was recovered by police on Monday after she failed to surface at the disused Prestonhill quarry in Inverkeithing on Sunday.
The Edinburgh mother’s death comes two years after 18-year-old John McKay, from Kirkcaldy, drowned at the quarry in 2015, while Burntisland teenager Cameron Lancaster, also 18, was killed in 2014.
Now as the online petition gathers pace, it has been backed by Cameron’s mother Gillian Barclay, who warned that unless action is taken, it may only be a matter of time before another life is lost there.
“As a family we’re very strongly against it remaining as a body of water, because it’s just a draw to young people to go and jump in,” said Gillian. “I’m heavily involved in Water Safety Scotland, and I go round speaking to secondary school children about the dangers of open water. But despite that I know that kids are still doing it.
“It’s very difficult standing up in front of hundreds of youngsters to tell the story of Cameron’s death. It’s really hard and very emotionally draining. But I do it because I want young people to understand that risk-taking can end in tragedy and it’s the ones that are left behind that suffer the most.
“Cameron’s friends are still suffering three years on. He would have been graduating with many of his peer group. It never goes away.
“It’s hard, but my daughter’s doing it now, talking to five or six schools this summer.
“But I feel that it’s worthwhile if I stop one young person taking a risk.”
Having now moved from Burntisland to Inverkeithing, Gillian feared the worst when she heard the emergency services on Sunday night, but was shocked to learn that she also knew the latest victim of the quarry.
“When I heard the sirens and the helicopter on Sunday night, my biggest fear was that it was going to be another child,” she said. “Sadly the diver who did lose her life was known to us as she’s a teacher at my daughter’s school, and we know the child who’s left behind. It’s really tragic beyond belief.”
While some have hoped to create a supervised dive centre at the quarry, Gillian says it must be filled in.
“I know there are massive technical issues about doing that,” she said.
“Some people say that it’s a nature reserve and seabirds use it for nesting, but what’s more important – people’s lives, or a couple of seabirds?
“We’ve been calling for it to be filled in since Cameron’s death, and I fear that if it’s not, there’ll be more deaths there, it’s just a death trap.
“There’ve now been three deaths in less than three years.
“I’ve thought a lot about John McKay as well as his family, because you never get over it.
“There’s nowhere else in Fife which has such a bad record for deaths. There’ve been a few drownings at the coast, but the quarry has now claimed at least four lives.
“It’s not just the three recent ones, there have been other deaths in the quarry too. It’s a long-running issue.
“This particular area of water is so steeped in tragedy now that I can’t understand why anybody would want to go anywhere near a watery grave, which it is.”
The petition can be found at www.change.org/p/douglas-chapman-inverkeithing-quarry-drain-it-and-fill-it-in.