Boy, 14, dies in scorching 118f heat on Australian outback trek with his fatherEwan Williamson collapsed in Western Australia while out hiking with his fatherPair were found in a creek and Ewan was airlifted to hospital but the boy died soon after
Friends, relatives and community 'devastated' by his death
01:59 GMT, 24 December 2012
02:00 GMT, 24 December 2012
Tragic: Ewan Williamson from Largs, North Ayrshire, Scotland, was visiting his father in Australia
Tearful tributes were paid yesterday to a 14-year-old Scottish schoolboy who died in scorching heat on a trek in the Australian outback.
Ewan Williamson collapsed in temperatures of 118f (48c) in the Cape Range National Park during the walk with his father Gordon, 49, on Friday.
Mr Williamson called the emergency services but the teenager, from Largs, Ayrshire, could not be revived.
He had travelled to Western Australia a week earlier to spend Christmas with his father, who now lives there.
Friends of the popular schoolboy were devastated to learn of his death.
Largs shop owner Julie Harris, 36, said Ewan was well known in the town for his distinctive blond hair.
She added: ‘It’s incredibly sad. My daughter Amy was one of Ewan’s best friends and she hasn’t stopped crying.
'She is devastated. Ewan was such a nice boy.
'He was very quiet but everyone liked him.’
Her 14-year-old daughter wrote a heartfelt tribute, which said: ‘Goodbye Ewan. I wish I didn’t have to say goodbye to you.
‘You were kind, funny, and most of all an amazing friend. I will never forget how I hugged you goodbye on Friday and thought I would see you in January.
‘I’ll never forget you. You will be in my heart forever.’
Ewan, who is thought to have suffered from asthma, had set out with his father at around 10am on Friday to walk along the Badjirrajirra Creek. Police said the pair were found down a 2,300ft gully at around 2pm.
St John Ambulance officers treated the boy at the scene, but his condition deteriorated and he was taken to Exmouth Hospital, where he died in the early evening.
Extreme: Temperatures in the Badjirrajirra Creek area can hit 122f
Ewan had moved to a flat in Largs with his mother, clothes shop worker Janet Butler, three years ago after his parents’ marriage ended.
The Largs Academy pupil had celebrated an early Christmas with her before jetting off to stay with his father, who lives in Geraldton, about 260 miles north of Perth, Western Australia.
Devoted mother: Janet Butler, whose son has died in the Australian outback while hiking
A 65-year-old neighbour in Largs, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘Ewan’s mum and her partner were doing up his room for when he got back.
'I only saw him a couple of weeks ago. It’s terrible to think something so awful has happened.
‘We used to see him coming home from school.
'He was always polite, just a nice boy.’
It is understood that Ewan’s mother has now flown to Australia to collect her son’s body.
The teenager’s 72-year-old grandfather, Louis Williamson, who lives in Rothesay, Argyll, said Ewan and his father had been planning to follow their trek with a camping trip.
He added: ‘Ewan was overcome with dehydration. As far as I know, he took convulsions and collapsed.
'My son managed to contact the emergency services and they flew him to hospital but they couldn’t save him.
‘He was a loving boy, very family-orientated. We are going to miss him terribly.’
Conditions in the Cape Range park can be extreme, with temperatures of up to 122f (50c) in the summer months between November and March.
Police said the cause of death and the circumstances surrounding the tragedy are still to be determined.
A report will now be prepared for the Western Australia State Coroner.