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Body confirmed as missing kayak student

OFFICIALS have confirmed that a body, found a week after a kayaking accident in Ecuador, is that of a former Cardiff university student. 

Adam Vaughan, 22, who worked at Cardiff International White Water in the Bay, was kayaking on the Abanico River on Sunday when strong currents caused by a flash storm forced him and his four friends to lose control.

Ecuadorian fire and rescue services confirmed on Twitter that a body had been found yesterday.

The tweet read: “In the San Luis area, a resident alerted the police of a body which is why the National Police and the Morona and Sucua firefighters went to the site to carry out an extraction. The body corresponds to the kayaker who disappeared on 22 January.”  

A friend of Adam is understood to have identified his body, according to Jonathan Canar Romero, secretary to the public prosecutor in Macas.

Four teams, made up of police, fire and rescue forces, had been searching a 68km area of the river in the hope of finding Mr Vaughan.  

Two other members of the party also died. David Higgins, 26 and Alexander MacGourty, 19, were confirmed dead by Ecuadorian authorities two days after the accident.

The other two men, fellow traveller Joaquin Meneses, 18 and American Jeremiath Stewart, survived.



Search helicopters have been used to cover a large section of the river

The kayak was found on the bank of the river on trees that had been wiped away by the storm

The search party pose in front of a search helicopter

The search used kayaks and rubber dinghies to search the river

The search party on the banks of the bursting river

The kayak was seen strapped on the the cabin of one of the helicopters

Rescuers are consulted on the search mission in Macas, the nearest city

A consultant speaks to searchers about their rescue efforts

A search party, including a reported 100 rescuers, were looking for Mr Vaughan, who studied Spanish at Cardiff University and comes from Newbury, Berkshire.

Following the publication of a Facebook post last week by Mr Vaughan’s mother, father and brother, friends have begun to post memories and photos of him.

Joe Healy, 24, a friend and course mate from Cardiff University said: “I can’t overstate what a lovely guy Adam was.

“Someone who genuinely had a time for everyone and threw himself into everything he did.

“Every weekend he’d come to lectures with a story about some adventure he’d been on, and he was always so upbeat in his outlook to life.

“Spending time with him was always a pleasure – we could talk and laugh about anything and he had more energy than I could ever hope for.

“He was someone who lived his life to the absolute maximum and had an infectious passion for the world.

“We could all do with being a bit more like Adam. He’ll be sorely missed.”

The fire services used maps that showed the location of the search

Ben Longhust, senior assistant manager at Cardiff International White Water, where Mr Vaughan worked as a freelance raft guide, said: “The whole team at CIWW have been saddened and shocked by the news from Ecuador.  

“Adam was a highly respected and much-loved freelance raft guide, kayak instructor, and a friend to all of the team at CIWW.  

“He’s an inspiration to many at the centre, spending the off season and any spare time adventuring and living life to the full. Our thoughts are with Adam’s family and friends at this tragic time.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth office said: “We are assisting the family and are in contact with the Ecuadorian authorities.”

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