Engineer killed on charity trike race across the Andes

Peter Buckley
Peter Buckley
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AN engineer living in Edinburgh has been killed while taking part in a charity challenge racing three-wheel mototaxis through the Andes.

Peter Buckley, 25, originally from Courtnacuddy, Co Wexford, died when the three-wheeled converted motorcycle he was on crashed in Peru.

He had been competing in the 2000km Mototaxi Junket, with childhood friend Eamonn O’Leary and several other friends, when he was killed.

The crash happened on Saturday evening in mountainous terrain near the city of Huancayo.

Mr Buckley had been living and working in Edinburgh. He is survived by his parents, his four brothers and four sisters and his girlfriend, Clare.

Organisers of the trip, The Adventurists, said it was the first death in seven events.

“The Adventurists are deeply saddened to announce the death of a participant,” they said.

“Our sympathies and thoughts are with the family and friends of the deceased at this incredibly difficult time.”

No other vehicles were involved in the accident, the organisers said.

In a brief statement, Mr Buckley’s parents, Eamonn and Mary, said their son died as a result of injuries suffered in the crash.

“He was part of a group of eight friends doing a ‘Mototaxi Junket’ from Cuzco to Piura in aid of the Irish Cancer Society, Cancer Research UK and Practical Action,” they stated.

Along with his teammate he had raised about £4000.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has been liaising with the Buckley family as plans for repatriation are finalised.

The adventure, which kicked off at New Year, covers more than 2000km from Cuzco in the south to Piura in the north. It includes jungle tracks, rainforests and treacherous mountain passes in the Andes.

Competitors taking part in this year’s event were raising money for the Practical Action charity as well as individually-selected charities.

Mr Buckley and Mr O’Leary had been travelling in a loose convoy with other competitors – who immediately abandoned the challenge despite organisers saying it will remain open for anyone wishing to finish.

It is believed that Mr Buckley was in a mototaxi with someone else at the time of the crash.

Local police are investigating, but no members of the Mototaxi Junket witnessed the incident.

Weather conditions at the time are not known, but the region can suffer from heavy rainfall at this time of year.

A spokesman for The Adventurists said there were a number of long-term friends in the convoy.

“This group consisted of five teams, although it is common for groups to split up and re-form as they choose.”

It is the seventh edition of the race since 2009 and about 200 two-man teams have taken part. In that period there have been three or four serious injuries, according to organisers.

“We go to extreme lengths to make sure that everybody is aware of the risks that are involved in taking part,” the spokesman said.

In a statement, charity Practical Action said: “We are full of admiration for people who challenge themselves to make a difference and will always be grateful for the support we receive.”