Donations flood in for charities after tragic swim death of Paraic Casey
THE tragic death of an Irish swimmer during a Channel crossing bid has sparked a flood of donations to his two favourite charities as a remarkable tribute.
Páraic Casey (45) from Passage West in Cork was less than 3km from the French coast when he suddenly fell ill and had to be taken from the sea into his support boat, Pace Arrow.
Frantic efforts to stabilise his condition failed and he was pronounced dead before he could be air-lifted to Le Touquet.
He had been trying to raise money for St Vincent de Paul and Marymount Hospice - both of which are now flooded with donations.
A post mortem examination is expected to be carried out but it is suspected Mr Casey may have suffered some type of cardiac arrest.
The tragedy occurred shortly before 3am when the swimmer was just a couple of hours from making landfall.
A major aid operation was mounted by the British and French authorities which included a French rescue helicopter complete with a paramedic team, a speedboat and onshore support services.
Mr Casey's heartbroken wife, Riana Parsons-Casey, said they were devastated that an event he had been eagerly looking forward to for months should end in such tragedy.
"Páraic was an amazing, healthy, tough, loving husband, friend, brother, uncle, son, nephew and cousin whose recent passion for swimming brought him to great places," she said.
"I would like to thank everyone for their love and support. We ask that our privacy is respected during this difficult time," she added.
The Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation - which oversees all crossing attempts - said everything was done to help the stricken swimmer.