‘An absolute gentleman’ – Tributes to Irish teenager who died in Ecuador kayaking tragedy

‘An absolute gentleman’ – Tributes to Irish teenager who died in Ecuador kayaking tragedy

TRIBUTES are pouring in for an Irish kayaker who died when his group was caught up in a flash-flood in Ecuador.

Alex McGourty, 19, from Co. Sligo, was on a kayaking trip with four other men when he was swept to his death in the River Abanico.

Another Irishman, 26-year-old David Higgins, remains missing along with Englishman Adam Vaughan and Ecuadorian Joaquín Meneses.

A fifth member of the group was found alive by rescue teams on Sunday.

Call Of The Wild activity store, of which Mr McGourty was an ambassador, tweeted of their sadness at the news of his death.

"Our sympathies to the family of Alex McGourty who has died tragically following his dreams in South America. We are deeply saddened by this news,” the store said.

"Alex was an absolute gentleman and a massive credit to his parents."

Mr McGourty was a trainee-instructor at Sligo Kayak Club, and the club have paid tribute to “one of the finest young men we had the honour of knowing and paddling with.”

They wrote: “The club would like to extend our deepest and heartfelt sympathies to Alex’s parents Frankie and Eilish, his family and his friends.

“Their empty kayaks have been found…We believe the whole team was caught by a flash flood in a very remote part of Ecuador.”

“Alex will be greatly missed by all in Sligo Kayak Club.”

Mr McGourty was a former pupil of Summerhill College in Knocknaganny, Sligo.

In 2016, he received a one-year scholarship to attend the World Class Kayak Academy in Washington, USA.

Sligo Kayak Club also said their prayers go out to Galway native Mr Higgins, who remains missing as of Monday morning.