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Tuesday 24 April 2018

Irish man missing after fateful dive from bridge in Rockies 'was smiling to the end'

Family pay special tribute to the many who were involved and continue to be involved in the search for David (26)

David Gavin
David Gavin

Tom Shiel

A young Irishman was so struck by the beauty of his surroundings in the Canadian Rockies just before he died in a swimming accident that he told his friends he was "in paradise".

Brian Gavin, an uncle of David Gavin (26) from Castlebar, Co Mayo, told a memorial Mass his nephew was "smiling to the end" before he dived from a bridge spanning the Beaver River, near Kinbasket Lake, British Columbia, on June 30.

Despite a huge search assisted by his family and other relatives, no trace of the GAA man's body has been found.

At a memorial Mass in a packed Church of the Holy Rosary, Castlebar, yesterday tears were shed and prayers recited that his remains may yet be found and repatriated.

Speaking on behalf of David's parents Michael and Angela, his sister Aoife, and girlfriend Ciara O'Malley, Brian Gavin said the family were overwhelmed by the support.

Read More: More than €100,000 raised to help fund ongoing search for GAA star missing after swimming incident

Breaffy man David Gavin
Breaffy man David Gavin

He paid special tribute to the many who were involved and continue to be involved in the search and those who contributed so generously to a fund which will facilitate a continuance of the search.

David, a young man with energy, curiosity, and a sense of adventure, had spent 26 years in which he "lived, loved and laughed", his uncle stated.

Fr John McCormack described the family's loss as "every parent's worst nighmare". David was travelling with teammates from ISSC Vancouver GAA club to a match in Calgary at the time.

"They stopped off at Kinbasket Lake to go for a swim in order to cool off", Fr McCormack said. "Innocently, some of them walked to a bridge that overlooks this beautiful place.

"It was at a height David was comfortable with. He resurfaced and then disappeared. His friends responded immediately but were unable to save him.

"What went wrong we don't know and we will never know unless David is found."

Teammates from Breaffy GAA Club in Castlebar brought gifts to the altar. Mourners also included members of the Mayo football team, representatives of GAA clubs throughout Ireland, former Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his wife Fionnuala, and former EU commissioner and cabinet member Padraig Flynn.

Irish Independent

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