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Kayak death tragedy men named

Three kayakers found dead in a river in Northumberland were today named by police as brothers Darren and Mark Thorpe and their cousin Gavin Bradley.

A major search and rescue operation was sparked after the three failed to return home on Sunday.

Darren Thorpe, 41, and Mark Thorpe, 39, were both from South Shields, South Tyneside, and Gavin Bradley, 36, was from Jarrow, South Tyneside.

It is believed the three men had planned their trip and knew the river well, but had encountered challenging conditions after heavy rainfall.

After receiving a call at 11pm on Sunday, the first body was recovered from the river by a Sea King helicopter from RAF Boulmer at just after 5.10am yesterday morning and the second body was recovered just before 6.20am in the Corbridge area.

The third body was then discovered yesterday afternoon by officers under the Broomhaugh A68 bridge.

Earlier one of the missing men's vehicles had been found at Tyne Green, near to Hexham Rowing Club, just before 1.15am.

A second vehicle belonging to them was also found, at 4.10am, at Wylam railway station car park, and later their kayaks were retrieved.

Northumbria Police said their investigation would continue and a report would be prepared for the coroner.

Chief Superintendent Gordon Milward said the weather had been unpredictable at the time and warned people it was important to balance enjoying the river with personal safety.

"The weather was unpredictable, in terms of some very heavy showers, and the river was higher than usual and fast-flowing," he said.

"They would be challenging conditions for anybody who decided to go into the water.

"Part of the thrill of kayaking is that element of risk. What I would say to anyone is balance that against personal safety.

"If you are in any doubt about how well-equipped you feel you are to go into the water, step back and come back another day."


From Belfast Telegraph