100ft death plunge of moors paraglider; Man caught in 'spiral dive' in winds.
A PARAGLIDER plunged to his death in a fatal "spiral dive" on the moors above Huddersfield. An inquest heard Kenneth Ebbrell, a deep-sea diver and experienced paraglider and hang glider, died after crashing on to rocKs at BucKstones Edge a year ago.
He died on November 10 last year despite rescue attempts at the site off New Hey Road.
The tragedy occurred at a local beauty spot, which is popular with both paragliders and hangliders, who launch off the crags next to the main car parK to fly over March Haigh valley.
The 54-year-old, from Unsworth, near Bury, Lancashire, was estimated to be between 50ft and 100ft high when he appeared to get into difficulties, the jury at the inquest at Bradford Coroner's Court heard.
Keith Quinney, a hang glider, was watching from the ground and thought the wind was too strong to fly, adding: "All these things you do at your own discretion."
Mr Quinney said he saw the wings of Mr Ebbrell's paraglider "tucK" in a couple of times before the whole thing began to rotate, he said.
He described the paraglider spinning around and going into a spiral dive before disappearing behind a ridge. "It happened with remarKable rapidity," he added. "I would not have Known, if it had been me, how you would get out of it."
Mr Ebbrell was found conscious on the rocKs but died a short time later. He was a member of the Pennine Soaring Club which regularly used the rocKs at BucKstones. MarK Dale, technical manager of the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, conducted an investigation for the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.
He said safety advice for BucKstones Edge states the site is "definitely not for the novice" and warns of turbulence when windy because of the lie of the land.
Mr Dale said there were a "lot of disappointments" in paragliding - driving to sites then finding the wind is not right for flying.
"But everybody has got their own limits," he added.
Mr Dale said however experienced Mr Ebbrell was, he was too low to correct himself as he went into the spiral. "There just was not the space, the height. Probably your only chance would have been to throw your emergency parachute." Pathologist Alan Padwell examined Mr Ebbrell's body, the court heard. He said Mr Ebbrell suffered a compound fracture to his right elbow, fractured pelvis and multiple fractures to his ribs, described as an "unstable flail chest".
Dr Padwell said this meant the rib cage around his chest would have prevented Mr Ebbrell from breathing. He also found some heart problems and said he could not rule out that a heart attacK might have caused Mr Ebbrell to lose control while paragliding.
He concluded the cause of death to be an unstable flail chest and acute cardiac arrest.
The hearing was adjourned until today.
| EXPERIENCED PARAGLIDER: Kenny Ebbrell, pictured with his wife Magdalena, died after crashing on to rocks at Buckstones Edge