Irishman dies in avalanche while climbing in Italian Alps

Corkman is third Irish person to die in foreign mountaineering accidents this week

Shay Casey: killed by an avalanche in Italy

Shay Casey: killed by an avalanche in Italy

Fri, Aug 1, 2014, 21:39

The Department of Foreign Affairs is providing consular assistance to the family of an Irishman killed while mountaineering in Italy yesterday.

Shay Casey (40) from Rochestown in Cork city was climbing with 11 others in the Aosta region of the Italian Alps yesterday afternoon when he was hit by an avalanche.

According to media reports in Italy, Mr Casey suffered serious head and neck injuries when he was swept along 50 metres by the avalanche and was pronounced dead at the scene.

It is understood the incident happened on the Italian side of Monte Rosa which stretches into Swiss canton of Valois, where it reaches its highest point at 4,634 metres.

Tonight, Mr Casey’s family - who own Casey’s Furniture stores in Cork and Limerick - issued a statement confirming his death.

“It is with deep sadness that the Casey family confirms the tragic death of their youngest brother, Shay Casey,” the family said.

“An avid and experienced outdoor sportsman, he was climbing with friends in

Aosta, Northern Italy when an avalanche occurred.

“Tragically Shay suffered serious injuries and was killed by the force of the snowslide. His body has been recovered, and the family is being assisted by the Department of Foreign Affairs.”

A graduate of University College Cork, Mr Casey had been working as a quantity surveyor in the UK but regularly returned to Cork.

Mr Casey is the fourth Irish mountaineer to be killed in the past week, following two other deaths in continental Europe and one in Ireland.

Colm Ennis from Waterford and Peter Britton from Clonmel in Co Tipperary died last Sunday when they fell 200 metres while climbing the 4,013m-high Dent du Géant on Mont Blanc in the French Alps .

The bodies of Mr Ennis (37) and Mr Britton (55) - both members of Rathgormac Climbing Club in Co Waterford - were both flown back to Ireland from France today.

Mr Ennis, from Fairfield Park in Waterford, will be buried at Kilbarry Cemetery in the city following requiem mass at St Paul’s Church at 1.30pm on Sunday.

Mr Britton, a father of three from Park Terrace in Clonmel, will be buried at St Patrick’s Cementery in Clonmel following requiem mass at St Peter & Paul’s Church at 1pm on Monday.

Last weekend Francis McKeon (56), a civil servant from Cavan, died when he fell while climbing in the Twelve Bens range in Galway.