THE police chief leading the investigation into the deaths of three South Shields kayakers said the River Tyne was higher than normal yesterday, due to heavy rainfall.
Chief Superintendent Gordon Milward said: “The weather was unpredictable, in terms of some very heavy showers and the river was higher than usual and fast-flowing.
“They would be challenging conditions for anybody who decided to go into the water.
“Part of the thrill of kayaking is that element of risk. What I would say to anyone is balance that against personal safety.
“If you are in any doubt about how well-equipped you feel you are to go into the water, step back and come back another day.”
Mr Milward said a large number of specialists were involved in the search for the kayakers after they were reported missing last night.
The bodies of two of the men were recovered this morning, and the third was found under the A68 bridge at Broomhaugh, near Riding Mill, at around lunchtime.
None of the bodies have yet been formally identified, but it is believed they are those of the missing men, who are two brothers and their cousin.