Canoeist rescue ends in tragedy

Great North Air Ambulance at Reeth where the canoeist was airlifted to hospital. He was later pronounced dead.
Great North Air Ambulance at Reeth where the canoeist was airlifted to hospital. He was later pronounced dead.

A CANOEIST died after being pulled from the freezing waters of a fast-flowing beck in the Yorkshire Dales on Sunday as another bout of extreme weather wreaked havoc across the country this weekend.

The man, who was in his 30s, had been canoeing with friends in Arkle Beck at Reeth, near Leyburn, when he became trapped in debris, mountain rescue volunteers said.

Specially trained firefighters went into the beck, which was swollen by snow melt, and managed to secure a rope to the stricken canoe.

The canoeist was rescued and treated at the scene and throughout his flight to hospital, but was later pronounced dead.

A spokesman for the Great North Air Ambulance said: “This was a large-scale rescue effort involving police, fire, RAF and Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team. Sadly, despite everyone’s best efforts, the man was later pronounced dead. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

The rapidly melting snow, caused by a sudden spike in temperatures, has led to a series of flash floods, trapping drivers and damaging property, across the district.

A motorist had been rescued from floodwater in Hawes on Sunday after overnight rainfall and melting snow caused localised flooding.

Firefighters had to push the motorist to safety on Burnt Acres Road.