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Families release images of kayak victims

THE families of three kayakers found dead in a river after they got into difficulty have released photographs of their loved ones.

Brothers Darren and Mark Thorpe and their cousin Gavin Bradley failed to return home on Sunday after a day out on the River Tyne near Hexham, Northumberland.

Darren, 41, and Mark, 39, were from South Shields, South Tyneside, while Mr Bradley came from Jarrow.

The photo issued by Mr Bradley's family shows him with his wife Louise and children Molly and Gracie, apparently on holiday with a sunset behind them.

The photographs have been released without any statement from the families, who have asked not to be approached by the media.

It is believed the three men had planned the trip and knew the river well, but encountered challenging conditions after heavy rainfall. The emergency services were alerted at about 11pm on Sunday and a major operation was launched involving police, fire crews, the coastguard, the RAF and search specialists.

The bodies were found at different locations in the river on Monday. Northumbria Police said their investigation would continue and a report would be prepared for the coroner. Inquests will be opened and adjourned today, Northumbria Police said.

The hearing will take place at the Coroner's Office in Saville Street, North Shields, at 12pm.

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