‘My heart goes out to them’ – mother of capsize victim after kayak tragedy

Pearl Smith
Pearl Smith
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A MUM whose son never returned from a kayaking trip today told how her “heart went out” to the family of three men who died in an accident in the River Tyne at the weekend.

Pearl Smith has spent the past four years reliving the day son Shane went missing off the Seaham coast.

Shane, 30, vanished after his kayak capsized about 400 yards off the North Sea beach. Despite a major search operation Shane’s body has never been recovered.

Pearl, 57, of Seaham, told how the pain of losing Shane returned after hearing about the tragic loss of two brothers and their cousin during a kayaking trip to Northumberland on Sunday.

Darren Thorpe, 41, and Mark Thorpe, 39, both South Shields, and their cousin Gavin Bradley, 36, of Jarrow, had been on the River Tyne in Hexham, when tragedy struck.

Emergency services were alerted when the men failed to return home by 11pm that night, and all three bodies were recovered from the river on Monday during a 15-hour search.

Pearl, of Seaham, said: “When I heard about what had happened, I was heartbroken, it just brought everything back, like a flashback.

“My heart goes out to that family. I know what they’re going through.”

Pearl has not heard any news since Shane went missing on April 22, 2010.

“I’m still waiting for the sea to give him back to me,” she said. “They say eventually I will hear something but, as of yet, nothing.

“Even the CID officer leading the investigation has retired.”

Pearl says she believes Shane’s body remains trapped beneath Seaham’s North Pier.