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Wednesday 28 June 2017

Tributes to man killed after falling into canal with girl

David Gifford: tributes
David Gifford: tributes

Fiona Ellis

DESPERATE attempts by passersby to rescue a couple who fell into a canal at the weekend succeeded in saving the woman -- but her boyfriend could not be found in the dark water.

Dubliner David Gifford (22) tragically died in the early hours of Saturday morning after slipping and falling into the Royal Canal at Ballybough Bridge, Dublin, along with his girlfriend.

The couple -- who had only been dating for a short time -- had just left a group of friends and were walking by the canal at around 6.30am when they both slipped and fell into the water.

The girl's screams alerted a passerby who pulled her from the water but Mr Gifford could not be found.

The emergency services were called immediately and he was taken from the water shortly afterwards and brought to the Mater Hospital.

Doctors tried for more than an hour to resuscitate the young football fan but he could not be saved.

Mr Gifford, from Summerhill in Dublin, was the youngest of 11 children. He had seven brothers and three sisters, including a twin brother, Derek.

Last night, his brother Wayne paid tribute to "a quiet fella who was very funny". He would do anything for you and would go out of his way for you," he told the Irish Independent.

He said the whole family was in shock over the incident.

"I never thought I'd bury my younger brother. When I heard I just kept waiting for the ground to swallow me up. The whole family are devastated. My mother keeps thinking he is coming home."

He said David's twin brother was "not good". He was with Mr Gifford before the tragic accident but had gone home before him. He said they were the best of friends.

"They did everything together, they idolised each other. It is so hard to take, everybody is not registering. It's like he is just going to walk in the door.

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"He was a very popular young fella, he was really into football, just a great young fella."

The Manchester United fan is to be buried in his favourite team's jersey in the next few days.

A Facebook page was set up in honour of Mr Gifford (nicknamed Wiffa) and over the last few days friends and family outpoured their grief.

"Devastated bro, just feels like a bad dream, really wish it was, sleep tight pal," a friend wrote.

Another expressed his shock at the tragedy.

"It's goosebumps I get every time I see RIP Wiffa on this. It's shocking how quick someone can be taken. Wiffa, RIP pal."

Gardai have asked anyone with information to contact them at Fitzgibbon St 01 666 8400, the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111 or any garda station.

Irish Independent

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