| 6.9°C Dublin

Irishman dies on adventure holiday in Peru, another injured

AN IRISH man has been killed in an accident on an adventure race in Peru.

He was named locally 25-year-old Peter Buckley from Courtnacuddy near Enniscorthy, Co Wexford.

Mr Buckley died on Saturday while taking part in the Mototaxi Junket, a three-wheeled motorbike trip, racing from the city of Cuzco to Piura.

A second man on the two man team and also from Ireland was being treated in hospital. He is in a stable condition.

The company which organises the race, the Adventurists, posted a statement on its website confirming the accident.

"The Adventurists are deeply saddened to announce the death of a participant," the organisers said.

"Our sympathies and thoughts are with the family and friends of the deceased at this incredibly difficult time."

No other vehicles, either participating Mototaxi Junket teams or other road users were involved in the incident, the organisers said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has been liaising with the family of the dead man.

"There are no other reports of any other teams or team members being involved in this or any other incident at this time," the organisers said.

Six Irish two-man teams had entered the latest running of the race.

The race, covering 2,000km from Cuzco in the south to Piura in the north, covers jungle tracks, rainforests and treacherous mountain passes in the Andes.

The three wheeler mototaxis have been described as a sofa on a motorbike.

Competitors taking part in this year's event were all raising money for the Practical Action charity.

Mr Buckley had been travelling with teacher Eamonn O'Leary, from Galbally, near Enniscorthy, as part of team Soggy Bottom Boys. They had raised almost £4,000 for charity, some of which was also going to the Irish Cancer Society.

It is understood the pair have been friends since childhood.

The accident happened in mountainous terrain near the city of Huancayo, early evening Irish time on Saturday.

The Irish men had been travelling in loose convoy with other competitors who have abandoned the challenge despite organisers saying it will remain open for anyone wishing to finish.

A spokesman for The Adventurists said: "It is a very dangerous adventure. It is very difficult and it is unsupported. It is an independent adventure so the teams are made fully aware of the risks involved.

"There have not been any fatalities before. It is the seventh edition of the race since 2009 and about 200 teams have taken part - that's about 400 people - and we have recorded about three or four serious injuries.

"We go to extreme lengths to make sure that everybody is aware of the risks that are involved in taking part."

In one of their last postings online, three days before the accident, the team-mates relaid the dangers.

"Sun cliffs, swollen rivers, death defying traffic, hairpin bend after hairpin bend, snow capped mountains, muddy uphill roads, rocky downhill roads and the runs. The soggy bottom boys left Cusco and arrived in Abancay late last night," they said.

"At 6am this morning we all set off through the finest of the Andes mud tracks and bendy roads to make the next city before night fall. Alive hopefully.

"So far today poor Sheila has had a puncture and two drive chains pop off all up in the clouds at 4500m, but we're not finished yet."

Later, the Adventurists said the crash happened on a road in the Andes between Huancayo and Ayacucho.

Mr Buckley was travelling with a competitor from another team when the accident happened.

His original team-mate Mr O'Leary is understood to have been in another mototaxi.

"Peter was travelling in a convoy of teams, some were friends he knew before the Mototaxi Junket and a couple joined up with their group after meeting in Cuzco," a spokesman said.

"Teams taking part in this kind of adventure often travel in small groups or convoys in this way. This group consisted of five teams, although because everyone takes on the journey independently it is common for groups like these to not always be travelling together at all times and can sometimes split up and re-form as they choose.

"When the incident took place Peter was travelling with someone else from this group and wasn't with any other teams or mototaxis at the time."

In a statement charity Practical Action said: "We are deeply saddened to hear of the tragic accident that's taken place.

"We are full of admiration for people who challenge themselves to make a difference in the world and will always be grateful for the support we receive for our work. Our thoughts are with the families at this extremely difficult time."