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Tributes as tragic swimmer Paraic makes final journey

THE body of an Irish swimmer who died within sight of France during a Channel crossing attempt is set to be flown home within 24 hours.

The remains of Paraic Casey (45) are expected back in Ireland from Calais with the swimmer to be buried on Saturday.

The swimmer's two favourite charities continue to receive significant donations as tribute to the open water specialist with sympathies also being extended from swimmers in the UK, France, US and Australia.



Funeral

There will be tributes from Irish swimming clubs, Channel swimmers, Fota Wildlife Park and both St Vincent de Paul and Marymount Hospices at Mr Casey's funeral.

He is expected to be removed on Friday evening with his funeral to take place on Saturday.

Arrangements will only be confirmed once his body is back in Ireland.

His wife Riana Parsons-Casey said the family have been overwhelmed by messages of support and sympathy for "an amazing, healthy, tough, loving husband, friend, brother, uncle, son, nephew and cousin whose recent passion for swimming brought him to great places".

Paraic, from Passage West in Cork, was just 1km from the French coast when he suddenly fell ill at 3am on Sunday and had to be dragged from the sea into his support boat, Pace Arrow.

Frantic efforts to stabilise his condition failed and he was pronounced dead before he could be airlifted to Le Touquet.

He died from a suspected heart attack.

Mr Casey had been just over 15 hours in the water when he fell ill.

Over the past 48 hours, there has been a flood of donations to St Vincent de Paul and Marymount Hospices -- the two charities Paraic wanted to benefit from his Channel crossing.



Enthusiasm

Mr Casey's last blog -- posted the day before his death -- spoke of his enthusiasm for the Channel crossing bid. "After long months of hard training I have travelled an amazing and sometimes difficult road -- I am looking forward to giving it a real shot on Saturday -- to just keep swimming until I hit France...", he wrote.

He was one of seven swimmers from the Sandycover Club in Kinsale who were taking part in the crossing.

Mr Casey -- a native of Cork -- had lived in Galway for a time and worked as a wildlife ranger at Fota Wildlife Park.

hnews@herald.ie