Tributes paid to talented footballer (19) who died in jet ski incident

Wassiou Ayawe (19), a native of Limerick city who died in incident on Lough Derg, was ‘one of the nicest people you could meet’

A young man, who died on Wednesday following an incident on a jet ski on Lough Derg in Co Clare, has been named locally as Wassiou Ayawe (19).

The man, along with two girls, was using the jet ski on the lake near the bridge at Killaloe when the vehicle flipped over and all three people were thrown into the water.

The two girls are understood to have been wearing life jackets and were able to make their way to shore. However, Mr Ayawe did not survive.

Mr Ayawe, who was a native of Limerick city, was said by friends to be a talented footballer. He played for Limerick FC. He went to school at CBS Sexton, and graduated to study at the University of Limerick.


Tributes were paid to the man on social media. One person described him as “one of the nicest people you could meet”, while a former coach said: “Lovely young fella and super footballer. Was a pleasure to coach.”

Tony O’Brien, chairman of Clare County Council, said conditions on Lough Derg on Wednesday evening were “idyllic” when the incident occurred.

He told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that an investigation was under way to determine how the incident occurred, which led to the young man and two female friends being thrown from the jet ski close to Killaloe.

“There wasn’t a ripple on the water. It was idyllic,” he said.

He said that section of Lough Derg was very popular for water sports with many visitors coming to the area for the day to enjoy amenities.

Mr O’Brien called on anybody entering the water, in any part of the country, to “respect the water” as when “it turns back on you” it can lead to tragedy.

Reminding the public of safety advice, Water Safety Ireland chief executive Joanne Walsh said anyone using a jet ski should wear a life jacket.

“If you’re in an area that allows jet skis, make sure you have a correctly fitting life jacket or personal flotation device,” she said. “Make sure it is correctly fastened.

“Make sure if you are going out on any sort of flotation device or personal recreational craft that someone knows where you are. Give a plan and say what time you will be back at.

“Bring a mobile phone in a waterproof packet, or a VHF radio, or some sort of personal location beacon.

“Also, no inflatable toys whether it is a lake, a river or the ocean. You could be whipped out. My husband was out last night and he was taken 120 metres out. He was able to get back in but they are just so dangerous. The wind can blow up very suddenly.”

In a statement, gardaí said emergency services attended the lake at Killaloe on Wednesday evening following reports of a man getting into difficulty in the water.

Following an extensive search by gardaí, the Killaloe Coastguard, Killaloe/Ballina Search and Rescue and the Killaloe Fire Service, the body was recovered. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Valentia Coast Guard co-ordinated the search and rescue operation in conjunction with gardaí and the National Ambulance Service.

Shannon-based Coast Guard helicopter R115 and Killaloe Coast Guard Unit also joined the search.

A spokesman for the Irish Coast Guard said it extended their sympathies to the family and friends of the deceased.

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter

Vivienne Clarke

Vivienne Clarke is a reporter