A week after kayak accident, search continues for missing British college student

Jan 27, 2018 | 1 comment

Rescuers scouring the Ecuador jungle have so far failed to find a British kayaker whose group lost control in flash floods that killed two men a week ago.

The search continue for Adam Vaughan of Wales.

Local media reports in Ecuador have described how search parties have been combing different sections of the Rio Abanico every day for Adam Vaughan, 22.

However as yet there has been no confirmed news about Vaughan, who was in a party of five kayakers who lost control in “crazy” conditions on the river in Morona Santiago province last Saturday.

Speaking on Friday, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it was still assisting Vaughan’s family.

A spokesperson 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.”

Friends have continued to pay tribute to Vaughan as the search continues Friend Andy Kettlewell described Mr Vaughan as “an amazing, humble and adventurous friend” who had been caught up in “a tragic accident”.

He told The Sun: “Adam was a true gentleman with qualities and values of the highest order. He did everything with a smile and no matter how hard things were he was always there with a smile and cracking a joke.”

Local newspaper El Universo said 40 troops and two helicopters have assisted with the search this week. On Thursday the search party, including firefighters and a special operations group, covered the route from part of the Upano River to Tayuza.

Two men, Irish kayakers David Higgins, 26, and Alexander MacGourty, 19, have been confirmed by the Ecuadorian authorities to have died

Two other men, local guide Joaquin Meneses, 18, and American Jeremiath Stewart both survived. Meneses told rescuers he had survived by eating insects and naranjillo, an edible plant.

At a press conference earlier this week, El Comercio newspaper reported that Meneses described the conditions on the river as “crazy”. He said: “The flow of that river was so strong that getting out of the kayak was practically facing death. In the canyons there were rapids with waves and hollows several meters in height. Being there was crazy.“

Stewart agreed, and called the conditions “almost unsurvivable.” He described much of the river as flowing through deep gorges with no shoreline.

Meneses said all of the kayakers were very experienced but that the high water levels had made the river very powerful.

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