Sligo teenager Alex McGourty was tragically killed after getting caught up in a strong current.

The trainee kayaking instructor was crossing the Abanico river on Saturday when he got into difficulty.

The 19-year-old was part of a five-man expedition traversing the river in a remote part of Ecuador . 

Galway native David Higgins, pictured below, remains missing. Champion Ecuadorian kayaker Joaquín Meneses and Adam Nicholas Vaughen from England are also missing.

The fifth member of the expedition, American Jeremiath Stewart was found alive nearby.

Stewart told rescue workers that the five kayakers were making their way down the Abanico river when they hit a strong current and lost control of their crafts. “When I made it to shore I realized my friends had disappeared,” Stewart stated.

Local governor Franklin Puente told a press conference that a search effort for the  three missing men is ongoing.

The late McGourty was a trainee instructor at Sligo Kayak Club. He had spent two months in Nepal last year, before returning home to Ireland for Christmas. He had set off for Ecuador earlier this month to fulfill his dreams of a South American adventure.

Sligo Kayak Club have paid tribute to McGourty, a passionate and "fine young man", via their Facebook page.

Talented McGourty had travelled around many part of the globe on kayaking trips after qualifying for the World Kayak Academy in 2016.

It is with profound sadness we announce the passing of club member and trainee-instructor Alex McGourty. Alex tragically...

Posted by Sligo Kayak Club on Sunday, January 21, 2018