AN experienced kayaker drowned in a Yorkshire Dales river while on holiday with his friends, an inquest heard.

Christiaan Martinus Van Gorkum, from Waddinxveen, The Netherlands, became trapped when descending a set of rapids on the Clough River near Garsdale, between Hawes and Sedbergh, on October 30 last year.

The force of the rapids caused his kayak to repeatedly roll over, forcing the 28-year-old technical operations engineer in the pharmaceutical industry under water for more than five minutes, which led to him going into cardiac arrest.

Michiel Bastiaan Zaayer, who was part of the three-man kayaking group, told the hearing at Kendal's County Hall: “I navigated the rapids first without difficulty and signalled for Christiaan to come next as discussed.

“When Christiaan became trapped he kept on having to roll his kayak back upright and doing this repeatedly would have made him very tired.”

Mr Zaayer and the third kayaker - Ralph Nijssen - tried to rescue Mr Van Gorkum by throwing him a line and pulling him free.

When this did not work, Mr Zaayer jumped into the river and tried to free him, however the current meant that he struggled to get close enough.

When Mr Van Gorkum’s kayak was eventually freed he floated downstream, still upside down. Mr Zaayer managed to pull him to the bank and tried to resuscitate him.

Passer-by Judy Speers contacted emergency services and Mr Van Gorkum was flown to the James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough.

He continued to be treated by the air ambulance crew, but was pronounced dead in the Great North Air Ambulance helicopter.

After his death, colleagues at the Leiden Bio Science Park paid tribute to Mr Van Gorkum, saying he had been the driving force behind initiatives to link science with business.

A spokesman said: "He was always bringing together young scientists and entrepreneurs. Christiaan was a respected member of the science park community and regular visitor of the Life Sciences Café. We thank him for his passion. He will be missed dearly."