Deaths of mother and son after beach rescue heartbreaking, Nicola Sturgeon says

North Sea Lighthouse - Morning Light

The deaths of a mother and son following a rescue operation at Aberdeen beach are "heartbreaking", Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Emergency services were called to reports of people in difficulty in the water at around 4.45pm on Saturday.

A major rescue operation was launched and five people were pulled from the water and taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

A 37-year-old woman and a seven-year-old boy, understood to be mother and son, later died in hospital.

A man, aged 28, a woman, aged 25, and 13-year-old boy remain in hospital for treatment.

Scotland's First Minister was among those paying tribute following the incident.

She tweeted: "Tragic, heartbreaking news. My thoughts are with all those involved."

Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart posted: "Sorry to hear of the tragic event that has taken place at Aberdeen beach.

"My thoughts are with those involved, their families and friends."

Police Scotland appealed for witnesses to help piece together the circumstances.

Chief Inspector Stewart Mackie said: "This is a very tragic incident which has resulted in a woman and young boy sadly losing their lives - it will undoubtedly bring shock and sadness to the entire city of Aberdeen and further afield.

"As we work with partners to establish the full circumstances of today's events, we urge anyone who witnessed the incident or perhaps have information that could assist, to make contact with police via 101.

"Given the recent weather conditions we'd urge members of the public to take care, especially when near coastal or beach areas."

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said two of those rescued were pulled from the sea by Aberdeen inshore lifeboat crew and others were recovered by police.