TOUCHING tributes have been paid to a fireman who died while taking part in a gruelling triathlon event in Spain.

Married father-of-four Carl Cavanagh, who lived in the Bournemouth area, died after getting into difficulties in the prestigious annual Peguera Challenge event in Majorca on Saturday.

Friends have paid tribute to Mr Cavanagh, who died on Tora beach despite the efforts of paramedics to save him.

A JustGiving page has been set up by Emma Shepherd to raise £500 for Mr Cavanagh's family.

As part of the appeal she said: "Heartbreakingly as you are all aware Carl sadly passed away on Saturday whilst taking part in Challenge Peguera Mallorca. Carl leaves behind a huge amount of heartbroken family and friends but in particular a much-loved wife and four precious children who were his world.

"There are so many people feeing helpless right now unable to take their pain away so I have set up this page just to help bring a little less stress to his family whilst they are trying to cope with dealing with life without him.

"Whether they use this towards the repatriation of Carl, funeral costs or day to day living will be up to his wife Lizzie but I am sure there are many of you that feel the same as us and would happily donate to help them at this time.

"Carl was loved by many people as we can all see by the many messages, photos and memories that have been written about him already. This won't bring him back to them but may just give them a little bit of breathing space that they all very much need."

Mr Cavanagh worked as a fireman at Heathrow Airport and is believed to have worked at Bournemouth Airport in the past.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: "We are very saddened to learn of the passing of our fire service colleague Mr. Cavanagh and our deepest condolences are with his family and friends at this time."

Inquiries are under way in Spain into the cause of the tragedy.

The Challenge Peguera Mallorca is known as one of the best triathlons in Europe.