A KAYAKER died after his craft went over a weir and capsized, throwing him under the water, an inquest was told.

Christopher Laverty, 43, of Fishergate in York, was travelling along the swollen River Ure near Ripon in an inflatable double kayak with a friend, David Wade, when they started getting into difficulties.

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Mr Wade told the inquest in a statement how they were unable to avoid the weir and struggled for survival after they capsized, as they were ‘tumbled’ around in the water.

He said he thought he himself would die before eventually managing to get to the river bank, and pulling himself on to land.

He said he and Mr Laverty, who was a published writer, had been close friends for 20-years, and they decided to paddle down the Ure towards Ripon last May.

This was his fourth or fifth trip in the kayak, but it was only his friend’s second time out, having been on a canal the first time.

He said they were excited and ‘having the time of our lives’ as they negotiated rapids.

They then entered calmer water but could hear rushing water and then tried to paddle to the side when they realised there was a weir with a 6ft drop. However, they went over it and capsized.

They both had life jackets on but were pulled under the water and ‘tumbled around'.

Mr Wade said: “I accepted I was going to die and there was nothing I could do.”

He said he eventually came near to the bank and managed to grab a branch and pull himself on to land, where he was ‘spitting water and catching my breath,’ and found his friend had gone.

“He was nowhere in sight,” he said.

He then went to try and get help from a nearby house.

He added that he was ‘very saddened’ by what had been a ‘tragic accident'.

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The inquest heard that a major search and rescue operation of the river near Norton Conyers and Nunwick was launched by the emergency services, and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance was called.

A body was then located, face down in the water, and it was removed to the river bank.

There was an injury to the forehead but no other significant injuries. Police believed that there were no suspicious circumstances and that the pair had been aware of the risks they were taking in going on to the river.

The inquest heard there was no evidence that drink or drugs had contributed to Mr Laverty’s death and a post mortem examination had shown that the cause of death was ‘immersion in water'.

Coroner Jon Heath concluded that his death was ‘accidental'.

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