| 7.2°C Belfast

Irish climber dies after rare insect bite in Africa

An Irish climber has died after falling ill while on a mountaineering holiday in Africa.

Government officials are helping the heartbroken family of Richard Kinsella, from Co Wexford, to bring the body home.

Mr Kinsella (52) died after falling ill while descending from the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, at the weekend, and his mother and siblings are waiting on news of when his remains will be repatriated.

There was no official confirmation of the cause of death last night, but it's believed that he may have suffered a bite from a rare insect while on the mountain on Saturday.

He was pronounced dead the following day despite being rushed to hospital in the Tanzanian city of Moshi.

The ESB safety inspector was on a two-week holiday in Africa with his partner, Maddie, who is now being given consular help by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

A father of two grown-up children, Rachel and James, he lived in the Ballinakill area of Enniscorthy and is survived by his partner and children as well as his 94-year-old mother, Mary, and a number of siblings. His father, James, died some time ago. Mr Kinsella worked as a safety auditor with ESB Networks and a spokesperson for the ESB last night described his death as "very sad" for his family, friends and colleagues.

Daily Headlines & Evening Telegraph Newsletter

Receive today's headlines directly to your inbox every morning and evening, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

"He went to the Kilimanjaro area to do some climbing and it was while climbing that he fell ill," she said. "He was a very fit man."

A number of ESB staff who happened to be in Tanzania working on a project have already been in touch with the dead man's partner to offer help.

"They were there at an early stage to help her and they are also liaising with the Department of Foreign Affairs."

A spokesperson at the Department said she could not comment on the specifics of the case, other than to confirm that they were offering consular help to Mr Kinsella's family.

"Repatriation is part of the consular assistance but I couldn't say when or how that will be happening," said the spokesperson.

Fr Danny McDonald, the priest in Mr Kinsella's native Marshallstown, said people were upset when they heard the news.

"I announced it at Mass and I could see it in their faces, how shocked they were."

Fr McDonald said the deceased was "a nice man, a kind man and very popular" in the area. "It's terrible. The whole place is devastated."

Irish Independent

Top Videos