Canoeist dies after river rescue

Emergency workers at the scene at the River Swale at Reeth, in the Yorkshire Dales, where a canoeist, who has since died, was rescued

Emergency workers at the scene at the River Swale at Reeth, in the Yorkshire Dales, where a canoeist, who has since died, was rescued

First published in National News © by

Heavy rain and melting snow have brought floods to Britain as a canoeist died after being pulled from a fast-flowing swollen river by firefighters and mountain rescue volunteers.

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

Firefighters, using boats, pulled him out of the water but the Great North Air Ambulance Service confirmed tonight that the man, who was in his 30s, had now died.

The Environment Agency had around 80 flood warnings and more than 320 flood alerts in place, with river levels expected to swell further as successive bands of rain sweep the country.

Weather experts said communities in Wales, central England, the south west and Cumbria had seen most of the rain after 30mm (1.18ins) fell in some places.

Rising temperatures of up to 12C sparked a rapid thaw of the snow and ice which has built up in the recent cold snap, further exasperating potential flooding problems.

North Yorkshire Fire Service was called to the scene on Arkengarthdale Road, Reeth, by paramedics just before 1pm. They attached a line to the canoe, helped by volunteers from the Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team, because water in the swollen river was too fast-flowing to launch a boat to rescue the man, who had become trapped in debris.

Harsh weather conditions across many parts of the UK also saw a buggy carrying a six-month-old baby being blown into freezing cold water. The pushchair was swept out of the hands of the baby's mother as she walked along Watchet Harbour in Somerset earlier.

Dock master George Reeder, 63, rushed to help after hearing a woman screaming. He dived into the water and pushed it to a wall before a passer-by threw down a rope so the buggy could be hauled to dry land. The baby, who had spent five minutes in the water, was revived and taken to hospital. He is now thought to be out of intensive care.

Forecasters have warned that more wet and windy weather is on the way, after heavy rain and thawing ice and snow caused floods. The Met Office issued a yellow rain warning for much of the UK, warning that people should be aware that flooding could cause disruption, in particular to travel.

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