Canoeist dies after incident in County Durham

A canoeist was airlifted to hospital by the Great North Air Ambulance with serious injuries after an incident in County Durham

Great North Air Ambulance
Great North Air Ambulance

A canoeist has died after suffering serious injuries in County Durham.

The 47-year-old man had been airlifted to hospital with life-threatening injuries after the incident at Baldergill, near Barnard Castle, County Durham.

The victim, who has not been named, died at James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, early yesterday after clinging to life since the incident on Saturday.

Other canoeists had performed first aid on the man at the scene before rescue services arrived and took over. He was airlifted to hospital by the Great North Air Ambulance.

A spokesman for Durham Police said the incident took place on the River Tees near Wharlton Lido.

He said: “During the afternoon of 26th October a 47-year-old male was pulled from the water having capsized while canoeing. CPR was conducted by members of the public initially until the emergency services arrived.

“The casualty was subsequently airlifted to James Cook Hospital. Sadly, at 7.30am, the casualty was pronounced dead.

“At this time the man’s details are not being released. However his family have been informed.”

A spokesman for the Great North Air Ambulance said it was clear the man’s injuries were life-threatening from an early stage.

He said: “We were called to assist a kayaker who became seriously unwell. He was anaesthetised at the scene by the air ambulance doctor before being taken to hopital.”

He said the journey took just 12 minutes and the man was suffering from head and chest injuries. The canoeist was critical on arrival at the hospital.

It is understood the man was part of a larger group travelling together at the time of the accident. At the time there were several different groups on that stretch of the river.

A canoeist who helped at the scene posted a message on social media saying they were unable to find the lost boat.

He said: “We were not part of the boat in trouble but alerted by members of the public as we passed by Wharlton Bridge. We assisted the river lead with the casualty at the scene until members of the emergency services arrived.

“Our thoughts are with the casualty and river lead who made every effort at the scene. As always the professionalism of the emergency services and the speed of response was exceptional.”

The Tees is popular for water sports with some people referring to it as one of Britain’s best white rivers.

It has fast rapids, gorges, and what canoeists refer to as playful sections.

The Great North Air Ambulance had been involved in two other incidents at the weekend.

On Saturday they also assisted paramedics with a two-car accident at Trimdon, County Durham, and airlifted a man with severe chest injuries to James Cook Hospital. He was said to be in a stable condition.

And on Friday a tractor driver was airlifted to the same hospital after an incident which resulted in the closure of the A66 at Stainmore on the North Pennines. A 47-year-old man was treated for head and back injuries.

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