York & North Yorkshire

Kayaker Jason Raper goes missing from river in Norway

Voss, Norway
Image caption Voss in Norway hosts an annual extreme sports festival each June

The worst is feared for a kayaker who went missing in a swollen river in Norway, police have said.

Jason Raper, 19, from Scarborough, went missing in the River Raundalen on Saturday.

He is believed to have been in Norway for an extreme sports festival at Voss in the west of the country.

A Norwegian police spokesman said initial searches had been called off until water levels in the river had fallen.

Mr Raper was on a five-week adventure holiday in Europe and had left Scarborough on 14 June.

On 22 June Mr Raper posted on his Facebook page that he was travelling on to Norway.

'Strong current'

Ivar Hellene, from the Norwegian Police, said two helicopters, boats and up to 80 people had been involved in the initial search for Mr Raper.

He said: "The river has a strong current. If he is still in the river well I fear the worst."

Organisers of the Ekstremsportveko festival said Mr Raper's trip on Saturday was not part of the festival, which began on Sunday.

Dag Sandvik, from the local kayak club in Voss, said Mr Raper was kayaking with three friends at the time he went missing.

Mr Sandvik added: "The kayak community at Voss is strongly affected by the incident. Our thoughts go to the paddler's family and his friends who were with him on the river that day."

In March, Mr Raper kayaked along the River Ure in North Yorkshire to raise money for the Great North Air Ambulance.

Facebook tributes

The trip was in memory of a friend, Kate Stainsby, from Swinton, near Malton, North Yorkshire, who died in January after her canoe capsized on the River Rawthey at Sedbergh, Cumbria.

Martin Stirling, from York Canoe Club where Mr Raper is a member, said: "He's one of the most skilled kayakers I've come across for someone of that age.

"He's been doing trips like this for two and a half years."

A number of messages of tribute to Mr Raper and support for his family have been posted on his Facebook page.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it was providing consular assistance to Mr Raper's family.

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