Body of second Irishman found following kayaking tragedy in Ecuador

The body of David Higgins was found in central Ecuador following a kayaking tragedy
The body of David Higgins was found in central Ecuador following a kayaking tragedy

THE body of a second Irishman has been found following a kayaking tragedy in Ecuador.

The remains of 26-year-old David Higgins were recovered yesterday, three days after he disappeared after becoming caught in a flash-flood on the River Abanico.

Mr Higgins, who lived in Galway but was originally from Co Kerry, had been missing along with Alex McGourty (19) from Sligo.

The pair had been travelling with a group of kayakers when they got into difficulty following a flash flood in the Abanico river in the southeast of the country.

Mr McGourty's body was found on Saturday on the banks of the Upano river, the Morona Santiago local government said yesterday. Another two kayakers travelling with the group were found safe, but another remains missing.

Mr Higgins was a graduate of the School of Engineering at NUI Galway and a member of the college’s Kayak Club.

Tributes have been paid to the young man, with many people describing their devastation at his death.

One said: "There are no words to express how we all feel here in the Ecuador kayaking community. Our thoughts are with all his family and friends at this extremely hard time".

Another said: "RIP David, all too soon".

The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs said it is aware of the case of the two Irishmen and is providing consular assistance.

US kayaker Jeremiath Stewart was rescued on Saturday, while Ecuadorian Joaquin Meneses was recovered on Monday.

The fifth member of the group, Englishman Adam Vaughen, is still missing.

Tributes were paid to Mr McGourty on Monday, with friends describing him as a "true gentleman" who had "the world at his feet".

Sligo Kayak Club, where he was a trainee instructor, said he "died while fulfilling his dreams, kayaking in Ecuador".