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Flash tragedy; Man killed by lightning.

Byline: OWEN FAIRCLOUGH

A MODEL plane enthusiast died when he was struck by lightning as he retrieved his glider at a national competition yesterday.

The pensioner, who was in his 70s, had cycled across the runway at RAF Barkston Heath,Lincolnshire, to collect his aircraft as a huge storm broke out.

He was hit by one of two lightning bolts and was later pronounced dead on arrival at hospital in Grantham.

The British Model Flying Association, which is holding the three-day British Free Flight National Championships at the base, cancelled the rest of the day's events and will hold a service in tribute to the competitor tomorrow.

Organiser Roy Wright said: ``There were two bolts of lightning - one which struck this gentleman and another which hit our main hangar and took out all the electrics.''

Mr Wright said none of the 300 competitors saw the incident, but organisers were alerted by a motorist who witnessed the tragedy.

Mr Wright declined to name the man,but said he was a ``well respected'' member of the BMFA from the West Midlands who had participated in the organisation's contests for many years.

``We hadn't had a drop of rain all weekend and then suddenly this thunderstorm breaks out,''Mr Wright continued.

``It is just unfortunately one of those freak things and our sympathies go out to his wife.

``We are going to hold a service in his memory tomorrow. We are going to continue with the tournament,as that would have been his wish.''
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 31, 2004
Words:251
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