| 13°C Dublin

Fourth Irish climber dies in six days

A FOURTH Irishman has died in a tragic mountain climbing accident in the space of six days.

Outdoor sports enthusiast, Shay Casey (42), from Cork died after he was hit by an avalanche as he was climbing in northern Italy.

Shay, a scion of the Casey family who are well known in Cork for their home furnishings business, had been on holiday in Italy with a group of 11 friends.

The fatal fall occurred in the popular walking and climbing area of Val d'Aosta in north western Italy.

The Casey family last night said they are heartbroken by the freak accident.


"It is with deep sadness that the Casey family confirms the tragic death of their youngest brother, Shay Casey," a family spokesman said.

"Shay, a chartered surveyor, had been living in London for the last number of years."

"An avid and experienced outdoor sportsman, he was climbing with friends in Aosta, Northern Italy when an avalanche occurred.

"Tragically Shay suffered serious injuries and was killed by the force of the snowslide. His body has been recovered, and the family is being assisted by the Department of Foreign Affairs."

Mr Casey is survived by his parents, Jim and Joan Casey of Casey's Furniture, brothers Jack, Peter and David and sisters Gina and Darragh.

Eye-witnesses described the avalanche as "a sudden rumble and then the entire mountain seemed to give way."

Weather in the area had been quite mixed over recent weeks and it is feared that rocks may have been loosened on the mountain as a result.

Mountain rescue officials and paramedics raced to the scene after the accident early on Thursday.

Despite desperate efforts to stabilise Mr Casey's condition, he was pronounced dead a short time after the accident.


Mr Casey is the fourth Irish person to die in mountain accidents over the past seven days, three in Europe and one in Ireland.

Colm Ennis (37), from Waterford and Peter Britton (55), from Tipperary died when they fell 200 metres on the Dent du Geant or Giant's Tooth section of Mont Blanc in France last Sunday.

Their bodies were flown back to Ireland yesterday with the funerals taking place on Sunday and Monday.

A fourth man died in a fall while climbing in Connemara last weekend.

Francis McKeon (56), a civil servant from Cavan, had been climbing in the Twelve Bens range in Galway last Saturday when he tragically fell 20m and suffered fatal injuries.