Family of Mayo man who died in Canada prepare to bring his body home

By Sarah Slater

The family of a Mayo man, who died when swimming in the Canadian Rockies, are preparing to bring his remains home.

David Gavin, 25, originally from Castlebar, disappeared while swimming with friends in British Colombia on June 30.

The GAA player with local team Breaffy jumped into the water from a bridge in the Beaver Creek area about 260 kilometres west of Calgary in the Canadian Rockies.

David was on his way with his teammates to play for the Vancouver Irish Sporting & Social GAA Club (ISSC) in the Western Canadian Championship, which were due to take place in Calgary, Alberta on the day he went missing.

The young man had recently moved to Canada with his girlfriend Ciara and was a hugely popular figure within the Irish GAA community in Vancouver.

Following an extensive search and rescue operation which lasted two weeks the Royal Canadian Mounted Police suspended their efforts to find him.

However, a private search continued due to a fundraising effort by friends and family.

The crowdfunding page, groundme.com, has so far raised $305,000 Canadian dollars or €198,8600 with donations still being received from the public. Mayo GAA also promised to donate substantial funds to the search.

A fortnight ago David’s body was recovered by Calgary-based search and rescue crews. The search for him was postponed last October, and it was decided by rescue and search teams to wait until April this year to resume their efforts as water levels in the lake could be lowered to allow for a fresh comb.

Divers from Donegal and Mayo had been preparing to travel to Canada to help with the planned search.

David’s parents Michael and Angela, sister Aoife and partner Ciara O’Malley posted a message to the fundraising campaign page.

The post said: “It is with great relief that we can inform you that David Gavin's body was found. Arrangements are currently being made to bring David home to Ireland.

This would not have been possible without all of your kindness and generosity. Through your donations we were able to get resources and services that made the search for David successful.

“Thank you all again for this opportunity to bring David home, we will be eternally grateful.”

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