herald

Tuesday 25 July 2017

Tragic parachutist 'like Bear Grylls' - brother

Malcolm Rowley died in jump
Malcolm Rowley died in jump

A parachutist who plunged to his death from the Cliffs of Moher in a freak accident had been a fearless adventurer since childhood, according to his heartbroken brother.

"We were The Hardy Boys," Jeff Rowley said of his relationship with brother Malcolm, who tragically died following a base jump at the Aill Na Searrach range at the Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare early last Saturday morning.

The 45-year-old construction worker and father from Mealagh Valley in Bantry, Co Cork, was killed after he plunged 600 feet.

He had jumped from the cliff wearing a parachute.

Two fellow parachutists watched in horror as he got into difficulty.

Mr Rowley's wake was held at his home last night and he will be cremated following a short service at The Island Crematorium in Ringaskiddy this afternoon.

His death - which gardai believe was triggered by a parachute failure - has devastated his family, friends and the Irish parachuting and paragliding community, of which Mr Rowley was a very active and well-respected member.

Adventure

Paying tribute to his beloved brother, Jeff recalled the death-defying adventures they embarked on as children.

"Malcolm, you and I were like Bear Grylls and Ray Mears as kids," he wrote in a touching tribute.

"We would think nothing of cycling 30 or 40 miles to go fishing or have an adventure in the woods, climbing mountains, railway bridges, castle walls, trees, anything we thought we could conquer.

"We were lucky enough to have a private 10-metre waterfall we used to use as a personal water slide with a deep pool we used to swim in.

"We would lock each other in a trunk and haul each other on ropes above the stairwell probably 20 feet in the air," he added.

"BMX stunts, magic tricks, hunting, living in the moment."

The loss of Malcolm, described as "a loving son, brother, partner and friend", has left Jeff and other loved ones inconsolable.

"My heart has been ripped from my chest," he wrote. "I have always loved you, brother. Nothing will fill the void left in your wake. I'm devastated.

"I love you, brother. Right now I'm broken, I feel as though I fell with you. I'm hurting till I join you again. Farewell."

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