Rescuers tend to the injured kayaker. Photo: North of Tyne MRT

Rescuers tend to the injured kayaker. Photo: North of Tyne MRT

An injured paddler was airlifted from a river in the North Pennines after a six-hour rescue operation.

Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team and colleagues from the North of Tyne team were called out on Saturday afternoon to the River Irthing, north of the village of Gilsland.

The kayaker was with a group of friends downstream of the Crammel Linn waterfall on the boundary between Northumberland and Cumbria.

A Northumberland NPMRT spokesperson said: “A small group of team members deployed early to help locate the casualty and his friends. Members of the North East Ambulance Service hazardous area response team were also deployed.

“Team members reached the casualty and his friends as light began to fade and, along with a Hart paramedic, quickly stabilized and treated the casualty.

“However, given the location that the kayaker was in and the difficult terrain, a stretcher carry evacuation looked challenging. The teams contacted the HM Coastguard rescue helicopter at Prestwick and requested immediate assistance.

“As a backup, the team also prepared for a possible steep-slope raise of the stretcher to easier ground above.

“Fortunately, Rescue 199 was available and was soon on the scene. Mountain rescue team members got the casualty ready for evacuation, prepared the winching site and coordinated the lifting of the casualty from the ground.

“We would like to wish the kayaker a speedy recovery and to offer our thanks to the MCA Coastguard team flying Rescue 199 and the NEAS Hart.”

The six-hour rescue involved 18 mountain rescuers.

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