Scientists Stewart Rhind and Julian Dawson named as A90 crash victims
The victims of a fatal car crash on the A90 near Laurencekirk have been named as leading agricultural scientists.
Dr Stewart Rhind, who was 61, and Dr Julian Dawson, who was 42, both worked for the Aberdeen-based research centre The James Hutton institute.
They were passengers in a car returning from a meeting in Stirling when they were in collision with another car near Fordoun.
The James Hutton Institute said both were "valued and respected colleagues".
A statement said: "It is with deep regret that we can confirm Dr Stewart Rhind and Dr Julian Dawson sadly lost their lives in the crash on the A90 on Friday.
"Both will be sorely missed.
"We are continuing to offer whatever support we can to the families."
The family of Mr Dawson said: "Julian was a wonderful man. He will be very much missed by his wife, family and friends."
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead told the Scottish Parliament: "Today we are discussing food policy and, given that in taking this issue forward I often deal with the James Hutton Institute, can I use this opportunity to say how sorry I am to hear that the Institute has lost two talented and valued colleagues in a recent tragic car accident as reported in today's news.
"I know I speak for the whole chamber when I offer our condolences to the families and friends of Dr Stewart Rhind and Dr Julian Dawson, and to all of their colleagues at the Institute."
A third member of staff injured in the accident has now been discharged from hospital.
The crash happened on the A90 Aberdeen to Dundee road on the northbound carriageway, south of Fordoun, on Friday afternoon.
The cars involved were a silver Vauxhall Astra estate and a black Saab.
The road was closed for about eight hours while investigations were carried out.