The parents of a teenage boy received the dreaded knock at the door from police who were there to tell them their son had been killed in a car crash.
Later they were contacted again, but this time they were told in fact their son was alive, but had been involved in a fatal crash that killed his friend.
Police responding to the crash in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, on Monday (local time) blamed a “confused scene” and an unreliable witness for their mistake, The Mirror reported.
Dylan Irvine, 19, was killed in the incident, while his friend, an 18-year-old, was critically injured.
Police said the error was “promptly corrected” after it was realised and they had since apologised to the family who wrongly received the awful news.
“Officers at the scene of a crash use every avenue available to help identify those involved as quickly and accurately as possible. This includes using personal effects found at the scene,” Chief Inspector Neil Lumsden said, according to The Mirror.
“On this occasion, officers were faced with a confused scene, including incorrect information provided by a witness.
“Once identified, the error was promptly corrected and the families of those involved were spoken to and were understanding of the circumstances.
“We have apologised to the families for any unintended upset and will review to identify any learning.”
Mr Irvine’s family have paid tribute to the much-loved, outgoing teenager who was pronounced dead at the scene after the car left the road and landed in an embankment.
“Dylan was a loving son, brother and grandson, and was loved by all that had the pleasure of knowing him,” a family statement, issued by police, read.
“He is sorely missed by all. He had an adventurous and outgoing soul and had the biggest heart.
“Our family would like to thank all of the emergency services for their efforts at the scene and we would ask that our family’s privacy is respected at this difficult time.”
Police said they were “continuing to support the families of the two men, whilst we continue our investigations into the cause of the crash”.
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