Innes Powell: British paraglider, 54, dies after crashing with another pilot in mid-air

Investigators order videos downloaded from fliers' tracking devices after tragedy in Macedonia

Jack Hardy
Saturday 18 August 2018 22:28
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Innes Powell was a widely-respected instructor (File photo)
Innes Powell was a widely-respected instructor (File photo)

A British paraglider has died after crashing into another pilot in mid-air during a competition in Macedonia.

Innes Powell, 54, collided with Ukranian Igor Volov, 56, shortly before the final race of the British Open in Krusevo.

He was unable to open his reserve parachute and plunged on to a path below.

Mr Powell, a well known instructor, was declared dead after being taken to a nearby hospital, Macedonian police said.

The Ukranian pilot, who was not a competitor, managed to open his parachute but died at the scene after landing in a tree, according to witnesses.

Tributes were paid to Mr Powell by the Isle of Wight Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club (IOWHGPC).

“It is with regret that the IOWHGPC has been informed of a recent incident that took place at the British Open Paragliding Competition in Kusevo, Macedonia, where tragically Innes Powell was killed,” the club said in a statement.

“The members and committee send their sincere and deep condolences to Sarah, Rosie and his family. Our thoughts are with them all at this dreadful time.”

Mr Powell, who had decades of experience in competitive flying, once risked his life to save another paraglider when she crashed into a cliff ledge.

The daring rescue was retold in an episode of the 2008 Discovery Channel series True Heroes.

He was competing at the British Open on Friday when he first collided with Mr Volov while travelling through a thermal air column, according to a pilot quoted in the magazine Cross Country.

They managed to separate but were propelled into contact again “much harder”.

The British Open competition, described on its website as “paragliding Mecca”, was halted after the crash.

Investigators have ordered downloads of video and data from the paragliders’ tracker systems.

A statement on the British Paragliding Competitions website said: “It is with great sadness that the British Paragliding Competitions Panel have to announce the death of Innes Powell and Igor Volov in the final task of the British Open in Krusevo on Friday August 17 2018.

“Our deep condolences go to the families and friends of the two pilots.

“The pilots’ families have been informed. We will release more details in due course.”

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