A MOTHER has spoken of her gratitude to a neighbour who saved her sons as they were drowning in mud having gone in search of their family dog.
Jack and Peter Wilson, aged nine and ten, were stuck up to their waists at a building site in Greendykes Road, Craigmillar, when Sean Urquhart, 45, heard their desperate screams.
Tracy Watt, their mum, said: “We’re so grateful for Sean being there. I’m still trying to get my head around it – we could have been burying them.
“There’s not many people who would do what Sean did, so we’re really thankful.”
Mr Urquhart, a friend of the family, was in his ninth-floor flat when he heard the boys yelling for help on Monday evening.
The local youngsters had run into the building site to find their dog, Sasha, a black Labrador cross, just after 7pm. When they became stuck, another friend also ran home to tell his mother, who alerted the fire and rescue service.
As Mr Urquhart freed one of the boys he got stuck himself and had to be rescued by firefighters using a ladder.
The father of three, hailed as a hero in the neighbourhood, said: “I just heard them screaming and I went to see what was happening. I don’t see that as being a hero.
“They were panicking and screaming – I had heard them from my flat and I knew there was something up. I got stuck, but I wasn’t in as bad as them.
“It was up past my knees and pulling me down, it was like squatting with 100 kilos on your back, but I’ve come across scarier things than that.
“They were quite stuck and the mud was up to their waists. I just tried to reassure them until the fire brigade got there.”
All three victims received medical treatment at the scene, but all were unhurt. The youngsters then travelled to hospital but were later released.
Fire crews placed a 30ft ladder across the muddy area to reach the trapped man and boy, crawling along it to then pull them to safety. The muddy building site is part of work to realign the Niddrie Burn and create a link road between Greendykes Road and Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.
A spokesman for Carillion, which is responsible for the site, said: “The safety of the general public and of our staff is always our highest priority.
“We are confident we have met all security requirements on this site, which is well bounded with three kilometres of fencing and has regular warning signs.
“Inspections of the perimeter fencing are also made every day to ensure the security measures remain adequate. It appears two young boys have somehow gained access to the site and have then become stuck in mud following recent heavy rainfall.
“In line with health and safety we are now clearing this mud as a matter of urgency, and at the earliest opportunity following the severe weather.
“Fortunately we understand the two lads are fine – but we would remind all members of the public in the strongest possible terms to avoid construction sites for their own safety.”
A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service described the situation as “frightening” for the boys.
She said: “They were shocked and very cold by the time they were freed from the mud. They had a very lucky escape and had the alarm not been raised so swiftly things could have ended very differently.”