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Model plane enthusiast killed by lightning.

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

The pensioner, who has not been named but was in his 70s, 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 (BMFA), which is holding the three-day British Free Flight National Championships at the base, cancelled the rest of the day's events. A special service in tribute to the competitor will be held later today.

Organiser Roy Wright said: 'This gentleman had cycled across the runway about a mile and a half from base when we were hit by this thunderstorm.

'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.

First aid staff tried to resuscitate the pensioner before paramedics arrived.

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

He said: 'It is just 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:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:May 31, 2004
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