Canoeist rescued from swollen river

Banbury Cake: An RAF Sea King helicopter joined a rescue effort on a swollen river in North Yorkshire An RAF Sea King helicopter joined a rescue effort on a swollen river in North Yorkshire

A canoeist who was pulled from a fast-flowing river by firefighters and mountain rescue volunteers has died.

The man, who was in his 30s, got into difficulties in the River Arkle, near Reeth, in the Yorkshire Dales, prompting a major rescue operation.

But, the Great North Air Ambulance Service confirmed the man died despite efforts to save him."

The man was pulled from the freezing water after he became trapped in debris, mountain rescue volunteers said.

Specially trained firefighters went into the river, which was swollen due to snow melt, and managed to secure a rope to the stricken kayak.

The canoeist was pulled out and taken to hospital by air ambulance.

Firefighters said they were called to the scene on Arkengarthdale Road, Reeth, by paramedics just before 1pm. A spokesman said: "Together with the Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team, fire service level three trained water teams deployed and rescued a male canoeist from the water.

"The male casualty has been transported to hospital by air ambulance. There is no further current information as to the casualty's condition. Fire crews are currently debriefing at scene and are now starting to leave the incident."

He said fire crews from Reeth and Leyburn were called to the incident along with swift water rescue teams from Richmond and Ripon. An RAF Sea King helicopter was also dispatched to take part in the search operation.

Steve Clough, from Swaledale Mountain Rescue, said volunteers from the team worked closely with firefighters who went into the freezing water of the River Arkle to fix a line to the kayak. He said the water was too fast-flowing to launch a boat to rescue the man, who had become trapped in debris.

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