Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mother Who Died Saving Children from Peru River; Husband Watches in Horror from Bank as Young Family's Boat Capsizes

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mother Who Died Saving Children from Peru River; Husband Watches in Horror from Bank as Young Family's Boat Capsizes

Article excerpt

Byline: COLIN ADAMSON

A BRITISH mother has been swept to her death after saving her three young children from a raging river in South America.

Bridget Riedl-Laing, 26, from Edinburgh, was on an adventure holiday in Peru with her family when their inflatable canoe capsized, tossing the screaming youngsters into the water.

Her husband Rupert watched in horror from the bank of the swollen river Vilcanota as the tragedy unfolded but was powerless to save her.

Passersby apparently heard his cries for help but because of the language barrier, the locals were unable to understand.

Mrs Riedl-Laing thought nothing of her own safety as she battled against strong currents to ferry Tannick, four, Fabio, two, and one-year-old Olivia to the bank.

But the effort drained away all her strength and the Scottish-born artist was too exhausted to haul herself from the swilling waters. She was swept away.

The tragedy happened on Wednesday during an epic trip in which Mrs Riedl-Laing and her husband, an Austrian sports instructor, were driving the length of the Americas from Canada to Chile with the three children.

The search was continuing today, however Peruvian authorities said there was virtually no chance she had survived.

Police spokesman Luis Ladron de Guevara said there were only three lifejackets in the tiny boat and Mrs Riedl-Laing had put them on her children. The move undoubtedly saved their lives at the expense of her own.

Her devastated brother, Julian Laing, said at his home in Edinburgh: "We cannot take this in at the moment."

Close friend Fiona Stephenson, an English teacher living in Strasbourg, added: "This seems like a horrible joke. I cannot believe she has gone."

The family left their home in Austria last summer for their marathon 6,000-mile trek. They charted their progress on a website where family and friends followed their adventures. …

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