Three men who died in Northumberland kayaking tragedy named

Two brothers and their cousin were found in the River Tyne
  • @lizziedearden

Three kayakers found dead in a river in Northumberland have been named as two brothers, Darren and Mark Thorpe, and their cousin Gavin Bradley.

Their disappearance near Hexham on Sunday sparked a search involving the coastguard and RAF helicopters and their bodies were recovered at different points along the River Tyne.

It is believed the two brothers, aged 41 and 39 and from South Shields, and their 36-year-old cousin, from Jarrow, had planned their trip and knew the river well but encountered challenging conditions after heavy rainfall.

Chief Superintendent Gordon Milward, from Northumbria Police, said: "The weather was unpredictable, in terms of some very heavy showers, and the river was higher than usual and fast-flowing.

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

A canoeing instructor believed the kayaks involved in the tragedy were difficult to control in rough water.

Allen Wearmouth, an experienced outdoor instructor and coach with the British Canoe Union, said photos of the vessels recovered by the police showed they were shallow boats, where the user sits on top rather than inside.

"If you get rough water, you are going to fall off," he said.

The instructor knew the stretch of the Tyne well and said the water around the weir by the Riding Mill pumping station was lethal in Sunday’s conditions.

Northumbria Police said an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the men would now begin and a report would be prepared for the coroner.

Additional reporting by PA