Drowned man was planning to return home
A FATHER-of-two who died after he went into a river had planned to return home to Poland this week to celebrate his birthday.
Marcin Wieclaw died yesterday morning in the River Avoca in Co Wicklow, on the eve of his 42nd birthday.
He drowned after he and a friend, Angus Campbell, also in his 40s, went into the river in the early hours of the morning.
The pair, who live close to the river, had been at a party in their apartment at Marina Village, in Arklow, Co Wicklow.
Mr Campbell managed to pull himself from the water and alert authorities.
Despite being taken from the water at around 7am and treated at the scene, Mr Wieclaw could not be saved.
A post-mortem was carried out and it is understood that gardai do not suspect foul play.
Mr Campbell was taken to Arklow garda station, where he was informally interviewed, before being transferred to Loughlinstown Hospital for treatment.
Colleagues of Mr Wieclaw, who was a security guard in the Bridgewater shopping centre, paid tribute to him.
"He was a lovely person, a gentle giant. We are all in shock," a colleague said.
Divorced Mr Wieclaw had been due to return to Poland to visit his five-year-old daughter.
He also had a 16-year-old daughter who lives in Ireland.
The Coast Guard launched a search at around 4.30am after gardai were alerted that a number of people were in difficulty in the river.
It had been feared that up to four people were involved, but the search was called off after it was confirmed that this was not the case.
Helicopters with heat monitoring scanners had searched the area for a number of hours before it was confirmed that no one else was in difficulty in the river.
The Marina Village apartments were sealed off by gardai but later reopened.
Officers are still trying to establish the chain of events that led to the men entering the water.
However, they are "strongly leaning" to the view that it was a tragic accident.