Western Morning News

Paraglider crash-landed and drowned, inquest is told


AN experience­d Devon paraglider drowned in the sea after making an ‘error of judgement’ during a flight, an inquest has concluded.

Todd Albrecht, aged 56, misjudged the wind above cliffs near Salcombe and could not find a safe place to land, a court heard.

He crashed into the surf line at Hallsands north of Start Point last July and drowned despite the efforts of paramedics to save him, the inquest heard.

An expert from the national associatio­n said in the Plymouth hearing that the property manager from South Brent had taken off in light winds without identifyin­g a safe landing place below.

David Thompson, senior technical officer for the British Hang Gliding and Paraglidin­g Associatio­n, said in a statement: “There is no explanatio­n as to why he chose to take off in light wind conditions apparent on the day. Based on the best evidence available, it would appear he made an error of judgement.

“By the time he realised he was in trouble, there was no landing option available.”

Holding a hearing over Skype because of the coronaviru­s restrictio­ns, city coroner Ian Arrow recorded a verdict of accidental death. He added: “I do hope that what is learnt from the circumstan­ces of his death are shared to reduce the likelihood of such deaths in similar circumstan­ces.”

A post-mortem examinatio­n recorded Mr Albrecht’s cause of death as drowning.

Mr Thompson recorded that his paraglider and emergency parachute were in good condition but he was not wearing a buoyancy aid or a knife to cut himself free.

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