COMMUNITIES in Limerick and Clare are in shock today after a jet-ski accident claimed the life of a promising young Limerick footballer.
Tributes have been paid to the 19-year-old Wassiou Ayawe, who played for Limerick FC and was well known in the communities where he lived in Moyross and St Mary’s Park. He was a former pupil of the Sexton Street CBS Secondary School.
Mr Ayawe died after he and two teenage girls who were on a jet ski on Lough Derg were thrown into the lake when the jet ski flipped over near Killaloe bridge at 5.30pm yesterday (Wednesday).
It’s understood that the girls live locally and had asked the young man to take them out on the jet ski, which he had bought just two weeks previously.
Witnesses say that when the jet ski overturned, the girls – who were wearing lifejackets – swam clear but Mr Ayawe attempted to try to recover the ski and was submerged.
It’s understood members of the young man’s family were at the scene and witnessed the tragedy unfold.
A full emergency response was activated with the Coast Guard, the 115 emergency search and rescue helicopter, the fire services, and Gardaí all involved.
They searched the water south of the bridge in Killaloe for almost two hours before recovering the body.
Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council and chairman of the of the Killaloe Search and Rescue team, Cllr Tony O’Brien, told the Limerick Post that the community in Killaloe is “very shocked and saddened by what has happened”.
“There was a pall over the town last night on what had been such a beautiful sunny day which ended in this terrible tragedy.
“People flock here on sunny days and it’s a beautiful place for swimming and water activities, but I would appeal to everyone, please, please respect your surroundings – it is so lovely but it is very unforgiving.
“My sympathies and prayers and the thoughts of everyone here are with that young man’s family and friends,” he said.
Limerick City North Independent Councillor Frankie Daly said he knew of the young man as a gifted soccer player and that he was sought by many soccer clubs in the city.
“It’s a huge tragedy for his family,” he said.
Gardaí are investigating the circumstances that led up to the incident and have interviewed eyewitnesses and those who tried to help.