Scottish Teenager Dies In Italy

1 July 2014, 09:10 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

A teenager from East Renfrewshire has died during an adventure holiday with the scouts in Italy.

The 14-year-old, who was a pupil at Eastwood High School, lost consciousness as he jumped into water during a gorge scrambling activity in the Gran Paradiso National Park in the north of the country.

He was immediately rescued from the water and given CPR but could not be resuscitated.

The boy's been named by Italian police as Elliot Peacock.

He was with a group of around 40 scouts who were on the second full day of their nine-day adventure activity trip when the incident happened at around 4.20pm yesterday.

Acorn Adventure, which ran the trip, said: "They were jumping into the water, where instructors were waiting for them. All participants were wearing buoyancy aids, wet suits and helmets as is standard on this activity, carried out by hundreds of participants every year for the past 18 years.

"As yet it is unclear why this participant lost consciousness as he entered the water. Despite very swiftly being given CPR by trained first aiders and nurses who attended the scene, very sadly paramedics were unable to resuscitate him."

The outdoor education provider added: "The thoughts and condolences of all at Acorn Adventure are with his family and friends; the team's efforts are fully focused on ensuring they are supported in any way possible."

The police investigation in Italy is being led by the Guardia di Finanza in Courmayeur.

A police spokesman said: "We don't yet know whether the boy had a physical problem or whether it was an accident. A post-mortem will be carried out."

The examination is expected to take place this evening.

Acorn Adventure said it is working with the Italian emergency services and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to ensure the boy is brought home "swiftly and respectfully", and that senior operations staff are travelling to Italy to provide all possible support.

The boy was a member of the Pegasus Explorer Scout Unit which is linked to the 35th Glasgow Scout Group (Crookfur).

In a statement, the Scout Association said: "The young person was taking part in a holiday to the Aosta Valley in Italy organised by Acorn Adventure, who are a company specialising in adventure-based trips.

"We are working with Acorn Adventure to support the family, leaders and other young people involved in this very sad event.

"We are devastated that a young person has died and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the young person at this time."

It later added: "The Scout Association continues to support Elliot's parents, the young people and leaders who are part of the event.

"We will continue to work with Acorn Adventure who organised the itinerary and programme to establish if there are any lessons to learn from this tragic incident."

East Renfrewshire Council says pupils at the teenager's school and others in the area will be offered counselling. A spokesman said: "We are devastated to learn of the death of one of our young pupils yesterday, whilst on holiday in Italy.

"Our priority is to provide whatever support is required to the year group and to the family, whilst we wait for news on the circumstances of this tragic incident. We are aware that the family are on their way to Italy and our thoughts are with them at this profoundly sad time."

The Foreign Office said: "We are aware of the death of a British national in Italy and we stand ready to provide consular assistance."

Gorge scrambling is a low-level combined water and rock activity that involves walking up and down a river gorge and jumping into pools.

Acorn Adventure said that the group were jumping from a height of approximately 60cm into the water, where instructors were waiting for them as is normal.

It said that water conditions were optimum for the activity and that the weather was warm and sunny.

The company said: "As this participant entered the water for the second time, it was obvious to the instructors that something was wrong, so they rescued him from the water immediately. There was no obvious contact with a rock or anything else, so the reason for losing consciousness remains unexplained."

It added: "Staff have since returned to the site with the police investigating the incident and it is now understood that there was no impact with a rock."

Andrew Gardiner, founder and managing director of Acorn Adventure said: "We are all profoundly saddened by this tragic incident and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the boy. Our priority is to ensure we do all we can to help them by working with the various organisations involved to understand how this happened.

"The rest of the group are supporting each other and showing great maturity. They are a great credit to their Scout group and their parents."