UK paraglider killed in horrific mid-air collision during British Open
A respected British paraglider has been killed after colliding in mid-air with another pilot during a competition in Macedonia.
Innes Powell, 54, crashed into Ukranian Igor Volov, 56, ahead of the final race of the British Open in Krusevo on Friday.
Both were fatally injured in the smash, which happened at around midday.
Mr Volov was declared dead at the scene, while Mr Powell died in a nearby hospital following resuscitation attempts, Macedonian Police said.
He was hailed a hero for once risking his life to save another paraglider when she crashed into a cliff ledge – a daring rescue that was retold in an episode of the 2008 Discovery Channel series True Heroes.
Tributes were paid to the British pilot by the Isle of Wight Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club (IOWHGPC), where he trained.
A statement from the chairman and committee said: "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 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 had more than a decade of experience in competitive flying, according to an online database.
The pilots first swung into each other while in a thermal air column, according to magazine Cross Country.
They managed to separate but were propelled into contact again "much harder", a pilot quoted by the magazine said.
Mr Powell did not open his reserve parachute and landed on a path below, where he was still conscious when paramedics reached him, it was reported.
He had suffered devastating internal injuries along with a broken shoulder, pelvis and ribs, the magazine said.
The Ukranian pilot, who was not a competitor, reportedly opened his reserve chute and landed in a tree. He was dead by the time rescuers arrived.
The competition had been on its final day and was halted after the crash.
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."
The prosecutor’s office in Macedonia said it has ordered that video and data from the paragliders’ tracker systems are downloaded and post-mortem examinations performed.
The British Open championship was held between August 11 and August 17 at Krusevo, described on the competition website as "paragliding Mecca."
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