The rescue team joined ambulance and fire and rescue crews at the scene. Photo: Dartmoor SRT Ashburton

The rescue team joined ambulance and fire and rescue crews at the scene. Photo: Dartmoor SRT Ashburton

A kayaker has died after getting trapped under a partly submerged tree on a Dartmoor river.

Members of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team Ashburton were called out shortly after 10am on Thursday to the incident on the River Dart.

The team’s volunteers, including swiftwater rescue specialists, joined crews from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue, the South West Ambulance Service and officers from Devon and Cornwall Police at the site beside Bellpool Island upstream from Newbridge, west of Ashburton.

Alan Pewsey of the rescue team said: “Unfortunately, it became apparent that, despite the best efforts of his companions, the rescue had become a recovery operation as the kayaker was still in his upturned kayak, both of which were below the water line trapped beneath a partially submerged tree.

“Our volunteers, working alongside Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue and the kayaker’s companions, recovered the body early this afternoon.

“The casualty was loaded on our stretcher and transported safely back to Newbridge and to the care of Devon and Cornwall Police.”

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team Ashburton’s team leader said: “We have a very close bond with the kayakers that paddle this section of the River Dart, and we extend our sincere condolences to the family friends and his paddling companions with him today.

“We would also like to acknowledge the help of his companions, who were all very well equipped for the conditions and very experienced, in recovering their colleague.”

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