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Sunday 22 July 2018

Body of missing Irish kayaker found in Ecuador

David Higgins was from Co Kerry but had lived in Galway for a number of years
David Higgins was from Co Kerry but had lived in Galway for a number of years
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

The body of a young Irish kayaker has been found in Ecuador.

David Higgins (26), a native of Tralee, Co Kerry, 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.

Fellow Irishman Alex McGourty (19), who was from Co Sligo, also tragically died.

Alex McGourty (19), from Sligo, pictured on a recent kayaking trip, died on Saturday while ‘on the trip of a lifetime’ in Ecuador
Alex McGourty (19), from Sligo, pictured on a recent kayaking trip, died on Saturday while ‘on the trip of a lifetime’ in Ecuador

The search for British kayaker Adam Nicolas Vaughan is still ongoing as local police, firefighters and volunteers comb the land and river near the city of Macas, the capital of Morona Santiago province.

US citizen Jeremiath Stewart was rescued on Saturday while Ecuadorian kayaker Joaquin Meneses was discovered alive and well yesterday.

The World Class Kayaking Academy in Washington posted a photograph on Facebook of Joaquin Meneses, who was missing for two days, and said he was safe.

The post said: "After what has been an unbelievably tragic few days, words can’t describe what it feels to see this photo. WCA alum Joaquin Meneses, after missing for two days in the Ecuadorian jungle near the town of Macas has been found and is safe. The entire community is in our hearts and minds."

Sligo Kayak Club, where Mr McGourty was a trainee instructor, said the young man “died while fulfilling his dreams, kayaking in Ecuador”.

It is with profound sadness we announce the passing of club member and trainee-instructor Alex McGourty. Alex tragically…

Posted by Sligo Kayak Club on Sunday, January 21, 2018

In a post on Facebook, the club said: "It is with profound sadness we announce the passing of club member and trainee-instructor Alex McGourty. Alex tragically died while fulfilling his dreams, kayaking in Ecuador.

"The club would like to extend our deepest and heartfelt sympathies to Alex’s parents Frankie and Eilish, his family and his friends. Alex will be greatly missed by all in Sligo Kayak Club.

"He was one of the finest young men we had the honour of knowing and paddling with."

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it is providing consular assistance to the families of David Higgins and Alex McGourty.

With additional reporting from the Press Association

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