THREE South Shields kayakers, all from the same family, had died in a tragedy in the river Tyne, police have confirmed.
Although they have not yet been named, police say the victims were two brothers, aged 40 and 41, and their 36-year-old cousin.
Worried relatives raised the alarm when they hadn’t returned home by 11pm last night, and the bodies of all three have now been recovered.
Chief Superintendent Gordon Milward of Northumbria Police said the family had kayaked on the Tyne before.
“They have been to the Tyne before and done a similar pursuit, so this wasn’t the first time they had been in that area,” he 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.
“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.”
Mr Milward said a large number of specialists were involved in the search for the kayakers after they were reported missing last night.
The bodies of two of the men were recovered this morning, and the third was found under the A68 bridge at Broomhaugh, near Riding Mill, at around lunchtime.