Accident Database

Report ID# 24756

  • Flush Drowning
  • Does not Apply
  • High Water

Accident Description

Details to Follow. 




Jan 22, 2018 | CuencaHighLife 

A young Irishman was killed and two others, Irish and British citizens, are missing following a kayaking accident in Ecuador’s Amazon region.

Kayaker Alex McGourty is pictured with Ecuadorian children before Saturday’s accident.

Alex McGourty,19, from Sligo, died in the Saturday morning accident on the rain-swollen Rio Abanico, in Morona Santiago province.
Irishman David Higgins and British citizen Adam Vaughn were still missing on Monday as a result of the accident.
Ecuador white water guide Joaquin Meneses, who was originally listed among the missing, was found alive Monday morning. Rescue workers said he had suffered cuts and bruises but was otherwise in good condition.
Also surviving the accident was U.S. white water athlete Jeremiah Stewart, who said the current became “outrageously strong and almost unsurvivable.” Stewart, who made it to shore after his kayak capsized said he watched his friends disappear beneath the rough water.

Ecuadorian white water guide Joaquín Meneses was found alive Monday morning.

McGourty, a member of Sligo Kayak Club, had been kayaking through North and South America for a number of years after qualifying for the World Kayak Academy.
Eddie Loftus, from Sligo Kayak Club, told the Irish Independent last night that the community was reeling from the tragedy. He said that McGourty was a talented kayaker and a kind young man who often volunteered with the club, training young people with disabilities.
“He’ll be so missed around here, we were all so fond of him,” said Loftus. “Alex was a great kid, he was so unassuming too. He’d be the last one to tell you how skilful he was. He was on the trip of a lifetime over there. It’s truly heartbreaking.”
Local rescue teams, including police and firefighters, have joined in the search for the two missing men in the jungle area in southern Ecuador.
The Governor of Morona Santiago reported Monday that they found the Ecuadorian athlete Joaquín Meneses alive , one of the missing since last Saturday after being dragged by the current of the Abanico River, where he practiced kayaking.
Meneses was with other four foreigners practicing this sport last Saturday in the river Abanico, of Macas, but due to the force of the current they suffered an accident. One of the foreigners, Alexander McGourty, was found lifeless in the river, while Jeremiath Stewart managed to save himself and was the one who alerted the police.
The GIR, which rescued Meneses, is now looking for foreigners Adam Vaughan (English) and David Higgins (United States), who are still missing.
The Morona Santiago Emerging Operations Committee is expected to report more details of Meneses' finding.
  • Thanks for all support and love sent. Here is what's happening in Ecuador. Boys hiked in 1 full day to the Rio Abanico near Macas and put in on a tributary that was high when they found it. They waited 2 nights and the river just got higher and higher, with no much option of returning after navigating little ways , they went on to try to get out and managed ok most of the way, til after a swim they all got pushed into a stout . That's where they all got separated, it was a 3km class V+ massive long rapid... 3 flushed drown and 2 got out separately 2 nights apart. The search for the missing ones is in process now Monday. Thanks to everyone helping and all friends concerned all over the world! #kayaking #ecuador #accident

We regret to inform everyone that after three long days of searching, David Higgins' body was found yesterday afternoon on the Upano river, below the Abanico river where the accident occurred on Saturday morning.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.

At the moment we are doing everything possible so the boys who have lost their lives are sent safely home .
UPDATE of the situation: Jeremy Bisson and Joaquin Meneses made it out alive; sadly, Alex McGourty and David Higgins did not. Efforts continue in trying to find Adam Vaughan.


Adam Vaughan: Body found in Ecuador search for kayaker

Adam VaughanImage copyrightFACEBOOKImage caption

A body has been found in the search for a kayak instructor from Cardiff who went missing following flash floods in Ecuador.

Former Cardiff University student Adam Vaughan, 22, was one of five men involved in a kayaking accident on 20 January.

They all disappeared after getting into difficulty on the Abanico river in the east of the country.

Two of the men from Ireland died, while an American and Ecuadorian were found.

Map of the area

But the search continued for Mr Vaughan, originally from Newbury, Berkshire.

Firefighters said a body, thought to be Mr Vaughan's, was found on a beach near the village of San Luis Del Acho, at the weekend.

The body has not yet been formally identified.

The bodies of Irishmen David Higgins, 26, from Kerry, and Alex McGourty, 19, from Sligo, were previously recovered following the incident.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are assisting the family of a British man who has been reported missing in Ecuador, and are in contact with the Ecuadorian authorities."


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