THE inquest on three South Tyneside men who died in a river tragedy heard today that they were “relatively inexperienced” kayakers.
The hearing on Darren Thorpe, his brother Mark and their cousin Gavin Bradley was opened and adjourned in North Shields by Eric Armstrong, coroner for North Tyneside and South Northumberland.
Roller-shutter engineer Darren, 41, of Madeira Terrace, Westoe, taxi driver Mark, 39, of Froude Avenue, Biddick Hall, both South Shields, and shop assistant Gavin, 36, of Lulworth Avenue, Jarrow, died at the weekend on the River Tyne between Hexham and Wylam.
The inquest heard the men had left their homes around 9am to go kayaking, and the alarm was raised at 11pm when they failed to return home.
A 15-hour search involving police, the Coastguard and a helicopter from RAF Boulmer ended with the grim discovery of their bodies at various locations along the river in the Corbridge and Riding Mill areas.
Kayaks belonging to the men were also recovered, and their vehicles found at Hexham and Wylam.
Mr Armstrong said police inquiries showed they had recently taken up kayaking in their spare time and were “relatively inexperienced”.
The inquest was adjourned to a provisional date of July 10.