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'Hero' British paraglider killed in Macedonia mid-air crash

Innes PowellImage copyright
Innes Powell

Image caption

Innes Powell was hailed a hero for risking his life to save another paraglider

A “hero” paraglider has died after a mid-air collision with another pilot in Macedonia.

Innes Powell, 54, crashed into Ukranian Igor Volov, 56, ahead of the final race of the British Open in Krusevo on Friday.

The British instructor, from Tavistock in Devon, was well-known in the industry and had decades of experience in competitive flying.

He died in hospital, while Mr Volov died at the scene.

Tributes were paid to Mr Powell by the Isle of Wight Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club, where he trained.

Its committee chairman said it sends “sincere and deep condolences” to his family.

Mr Powell had previously been hailed a hero for risking his life to save another paraglider when she crashed into a cliff ledge. The rescue featured in the 2008 Discovery Channel series, True Heroes.

On Friday, Mr Powell was travelling through a thermal air column when he swung into Mr Volov, according to Cross Country magazine.

‘Adventurer’

They managed to separate but were propelled into contact again “much harder”, a pilot told the publication.

Mr Powell did not open his reserve parachute and landed on a path below.

The competition had been on its final day and was halted after the crash.

Guy Massey, 62, said his friend was “an adventurer who always wanted to be better and learn more”.

“He was always happy to help a novice and impart his knowledge,” he added.

Barrie James, 82, from Torquay, was taught to paraglide by Mr Powell when he was in his 70s.

“He was a very, very thorough, sound instructor,” he said. “Very, very safety conscious and a likeable person.”

A statement on the British Paragliding Competitions website said: “Our deep condolences go to the families and friends of the two pilots.”

The prosecutor’s office in Macedonia said it had ordered video and data from the paragliders’ tracker systems be downloaded.

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