THE wife of a man who died in Sandycove on Tuesday evening has paid tribute to the men and women who rallied to try and save her husband.
Geoffrey O’Byrne White, aged 62, was pulled from the water by fellow swimmers after he was noticed facedown and unmoving in the water after going out for a swim.
Extensive efforts were made to resuscitate him, both by people at the scene and emergency services. He was airlifted to CUH but pronounced dead later that night.
His wife, Nicole, and their daughter, Lexie, were at the scene and Nicole thanked those who had helped the family.
“To the heroes and heroines of Sandycove who made such a valiant effort to save my beautiful husband, and to those who looked after Lexie and I, we are humbled and deeply grateful,” she wrote in a post on a private Facebook message board.
Mr O’Byrne White and his wife and daughter had only moved to Kinsale nine days ago, in a long-planned move from Malta.
Ms Frei told the Evening Echo her husband was ‘a magnificent person, an aviator who was a commandant in the Air Corps’.
Following his career in the defence forces, Mr O’Byrne White went on to become CEO of Cityjet from 2000 to 2010.
During his time with the airline, it grew from operating with five jet aircraft to a fleet of 45 aircraft. He then moved to Malta to set up an aircraft maintenance organisation, while also serving on the board of the Irish Aviation Authority.
He had roots in Cork, was previously a member of Kinsale Yacht Club and Ms Frei said: “Geoff and I were overjoyed to realise our dream of moving to Kinsale and he died doing something he loved.”
It is believed Mr O’Byrne White suffered a heart attack while in the water.
“A tragic passing of a beautiful soul,” Ms Frei said. “We will celebrate his life on Friday.”