Early-morning Dales dinghy trip leads to tragedy

SEARCH and rescue specialists have warned of the dangers of Yorkshire’s waterways after a man died when he is thought to have headed out on a dinghy on England’s fastest flowing river.

The body of Mark Allan, 35, was found on the banks of the River Swale in the Yorkshire Dales after he was reported missing from his nearby home by his partner at about 4.50am on Saturday.

North Yorkshire Police officers called in members of the Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team (SMRT), who found Mr Allan’s body on the northern bank of the river nearly five hours later at about 9am.

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Dave Rutter, who has been a member of the SMRT for the last 15 years and helped co-ordinate the search mission, admitted that it was bizarre for someone to head out on a dinghy so early in the morning.

But he added: “It is risky as people do not often realise the danger they are placing themselves in. The River Swale is very low at the moment, and there is a lot of debris and sharp rocks to negotiate.

“But we had snow and rain last week, so this has raised the river’s levels and it is still very fast flowing.”

Mr Rutter, who lives in Richmond, revealed that the search had involved 13 SMRT members who had been deployed on a boat as well as along the banks of the River Swale.

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North Yorkshire Police confirmed a helicopter from the neighbouring West Yorkshire force had also been called in to help with the search for Mr Allan, who lived in Brompton-on-Swale, near Richmond. The inflatable yellow dinghy which Mr Allan is thought to have used had still not been found yesterday.

Anyone with information is urged to contact North Yorkshire Police on the non-emergency number of 101.