A heartbroken Fife family has paid tribute to their “much loved” 10-year-old boy who died after getting into difficulties at a Scottish beauty spot.
Schoolboy Michael Heeps was swimming in Loch Lubnaig, near Callander, when tragedy struck.
Emergency services were scrambled to the scene on Wednesday evening. Residents reported a “massive” rescue operation with up to 30 vehicles.
Police Scotland said Michael’s death was being treated as unexplained, but not suspicious.
A statement issued by the family, who come from High Valleyfield, on Thursday evening said: “He was a much loved son, brother, grandson, nephew and cousin.”
It is understood the family were enjoying a day out together at the loch, as temperatures soared across Scotland.
A force spokeswoman said: “A 10-year-old boy died following an incident in Loch Lubnaig, near Callander.
“Emergency services were called around 5.35pm to reports of a child experiencing difficulty in the water. Sadly, the boy died.”
She said: “There are no suspicious circumstances and a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.”
The death has sent shockwaves through Michael’s home community.
Family friend Lorraine Coulter, who set up the fundraising site, said: “Hopefully our little community will pull together and raise some money to help them out at this very sad time.”
Cousin Emma Fraser posted on social media: “Hearts breaking. RIP to my little cousin, fly high wee man.”
Another friend wrote: “RIP Michael, another angel gained their wings too soon.”
Around a dozen youngsters and adults were said to have been at the waterside on Wednesday afternoon, around a temporary closed cafe and toilet facilities called The Cabin.
Callander resident Ross Munro said he was “horrified” by the news.
“You can’t help but feel for the family,” he said. “We’re all very saddened by this here.
“We live on Main Street and I don’t think I have ever seen a bigger response to an incident in Callander. There was probably about 20 or 30 emergency vehicles here, within the space of an hour or so.”