'He lived his life to the full' - Family of Irishman who died in kayaking accident issue statement
The family of David Higgins, the 26-year-old Tralee man who died in a kayaking accident in Ecuador, has released a statement saying "he filled our lives with joy".
David, who was an engineer, had qualified as a kayak instructor and had been lucky enough to follow his dream, the statement said.
David went missing when he and four other men got into difficulty during a flash flood on the Abanico river on Saturday.
His body was recovered at 5pm local time on Monday, the Morona Santiago local government announced.
“David was a vibrant and special person who filled our lives with joy during his life," his family said in a statement.
“He excelled in his studies and qualified as an Engineer from UCG but it was the lure of the white water that attracted him more than anything. Having gained extensive experience and qualifications as a kayak instructor, David was lucky enough to have been able to follow his dream and work and travel doing what he loved best – kayaking white water.
“While his life was all too short, we can only express our pride at all David did and achieved in his time and while we are devastated at the loss of our shining light, we take comfort from knowing that he lived his life to the full,” the statement said.
The family have also extended their deepest sympathy to the families of the others involved in the tragedy, saying their thoughts and prayers are with them at this extremely difficult time.
They thanked the search team in Ecuador and those who are assisting in bringing David's body home.
“The family would like to thank all of those who have offered their sympathy and condolences to them and they respectfully ask for privacy over the coming days as they wait to get David back home.”
Funeral arrangements will be announced at a later date.
David is survived by his mother Kathleen Higgins, his father Thomas O’Sullivan and his step father Denis Butler.