Tragic news has reached us from Ecuador, a young Sligo kayaker Alex McGourty passed away on Saturday after getting into difficulty on a kayaking trip. One of his companions, 26-year-old David Higgins from Kerry has yet to be found. The pair were part of a group of five when a flash flood in the River Abanico hit. According to local reports, a kayaker from Ecuador was found alive, while three others remain missing. One of the missing men is believed to be well-known Ecuadorian kayaker Joaquín Meneses.

Alex’s club, Sligo Kayaking Club, posted the news on their Facebook page, “It is with profound sadness we announce the passing of club member and trainee-instructor Alex McGourty.

“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. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”

Sligo Kayak Tours say Alex, “had a passion for life which was infectious and was a kind and hardworking guy who was taken from this world too soon. Let his passing be a reminder to us to chase our dreams, to live passionately and to seize each day as if it were our last.”

A large-scale rescue operation is underway in the country for the missing men. All we can do is hope that they are found and join together as the Irish outdoor community to offer our deepest condolences to Alex’s family.

By Orla O'Muiri

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