River Tyne kayak deaths: Trio were 'inexperienced'

(Left to right) Darren Thorpe, Mark Thorpe and Gavin Bradley (Left to right) Darren Thorpe, Mark Thorpe and Gavin Bradley

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Three kayakers from the same family who drowned in the River Tyne were "relatively inexperienced" and had just taken up the sport, inquests heard.

Brothers Darren Thorpe, 41, and Mark Thorpe, 39, and their cousin Gavin Bradley, 36, died after going kayaking in Northumberland at the weekend.

Their bodies were recovered on Monday after a search operation involving police, fire, the RAF and Coastguard.

The hearing was told that the trio were not members of any recognised club.

North Tyneside and South Northumberland coroner Eric Armstrong said the men set off for the Hexham area from their homes in South Tyneside at about 09:00 BST on Sunday and were due to return to their wives at 19:00 BST.

Further tests

Mr Armstrong said Mark Thorpe's wife Kerry raised the alarm at 23:00 BST when they did not return home.

He added: "It would appear the three recently took it up as a sport in their spare time.

"They were, it would seem, relatively inexperienced and not attached to a club.

"At this stage there are no suspicious circumstances and nothing to suggest any third party involvement."

The hearing, which lasted less than 10 minutes, was told the cause of death in each case was drowning, although further tests were being carried out.

All three inquests were adjourned provisionally until 10 July.

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