Canal users have hit out at the authority that governs waterways after a hero was criticised despite helping to save a child from drowning.
A youngster fell in to the basin at The Falkirk Wheel - which is eight feet deep - in March and was brought back to the surface after a quick-thinking member of the public dived in to rescue them.
But the hero, who has asked not to be named, was initially criticised by a staff member from Scottish Canals for not following recommended procedures for dealing with accidents.
The public body responsible for Scotland’s inland waterways last week apologised and thanked the individual.
A spokesman said: “Their decisive and heroic actions prevented what could have been a tragedy and we have contacted the individual and commended them for their bravery. We have also spoken to the member of Scottish Canals’ staff concerned and have taken steps internally.
“It is important to note that while health and safety is paramount to Scottish Canals, we cannot and should not dictate the actions of the public in circumstances such as these. It is a matter of personal responsibility and on this occasion the brave and decisive action of the person concerned has not only avoided a tragedy but is commended by all.”
Ronnie Rusack, chairman of the Seagull Trust, which provides free boat trips to children with disabilities, said: “The way in which this has been handled has upset a lot of people in the canal community.
“Experienced canal users must be trusted to deal with accidents when they occur.”