Search continues for father missing after helping son in kayaking incident

ireland
Search Continues For Father Missing After Helping Son In Kayaking Incident
River Barrow rescue, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Michelle Devane, PA

Gardaí and civil defence members are continuing the search for a father missing following a kayaking incident on the River Barrow in Co Kildare.

The man, who has been named locally as 34-year old Declan Reid, has been missing since he and his eight-year-old son got into difficulty in the water at Ardreigh Lock outside Athy on Sunday.

It is understood that their kayak overturned at the popular beauty spot and that Mr Reid managed to keep his son afloat before the child was rescued by a passer-by.

By the time the passer-by made it back to help the father he could no longer be seen.

Emergency services were called to the scene and a large crowd gathered as a search was conducted to find the missing man.

On Monday there were sombre scenes as locals and family members watched gardai and the civil defence continue the search during daylight hours.

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A diver searches the water at Ardreigh Lock outside Athy (Niall Carson/PA)

The search resumed on Tuesday morning and a four-kilometre stretch of the river was scoured by gardaí from the water unit and members of the civil defence throughout the day.

About a dozen kayaks and four boats were involved, including four divers.

Local Fianna Fáil councillor Veralouise Behan said: “It was a very tragic accident on a beautifully sunny day.

“My heart goes out to the family.

“The waterways are very inviting but the river is particularly high at the moment.

“The river is a big part of our community in Athy and there are a lot of people involved in water activities.

“It’s a big shock and a big blow to the family. I really hope they find him.”

Labour Party councillor Aoife Breslin said the family must be going through the “most horrific time”.

“It’s heartbreaking,” she said.

“I know everybody in the town of Athy sends their support and sympathy and if there’s anything the town can do to try and lessen the heartache they certainly will.

“It’s inconceivable how a family can deal with this.

“The waiting and not knowing must be absolutely horrific. There are no words to describe it.”

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Ms Breslin added that Athy is a close-knit community: “We’ve had a lot of tragedy in relation to the Barrow over the years and there’s an awful lot of sympathy when this kind of thing happens.”

The Ardreigh Lock area is popular with walkers and families and was particularly busy over the weekend with the good weather.

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