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Canoeist dies in swollen river as storm set to batter the country
A CANOEIST who capsized in the swollen River Tees died in hospital yesterday (Sunday, October 27), despite frantic efforts to save his life.
The emergency services launched a major rescue effort on Saturday after the 47-year-old man got into difficulties on the River Tees at Whorlton Lido, near Barnard Castle, County Durham, shortly after 2pm.
He was dragged from the water by a fellow canoeist and given first aid on the riverbank by a member of the public.
The man, who is believed to be from Barnard Castle, suffered from head and chest injuries and was flown to the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough by the Great North Air Ambulance.
Durham Police confirmed he died in the hospital at 7.30am yesterday morning.
The river was running higher than usual due to last week's heavy rain.
An eyewitness to Saturday's rescue attempt, said: "There were about 20 people there from the emergency services.
"I saw one fireman and I'm sure I saw a copper pumping away on his chest and they were taking turns to do it.
"The emergency services did a great job and they did everything they could to help him."
A North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) spokesman said both canoeists were out of the water and on the bank side when its crew arrived at the scene.
"We conveyed one patient to Darlington Memorial Hospital suffering from the effects of being in the water but he was fully conscious and breathing," said the spokesman. "He walked to the ambulance.
"The other patient was conveyed to hospital via the air support. Obviously, he was the more serious of the two."
Whorlton Lido is a popular spot for canoeists but it is also a dangerous stretch of the river.
John Holmes, secretary of the Bishop Auckland Canoe and Kayak Club, said: "The river levels are really high and it will have been quite dangerous.
"There is a strong undercurrent at Whorlton Lido."
Durham Police said the man's family has been informed, but his details are not yet being released.
The tragedy came as weather forecasters warned that much of England will be lashed by torrential rain and hurricane-force winds.
East Coast has issued an amended timetable for its train services, with passengers being warned to expect delays.
*For the latest travel and weather information, log onto thenorthernecho.co.uk this morning
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