Brit, 75, killed in gliding accident in Pyrenees

Police at the scene of the crash in the foothills of the huge mountain range(Picture: SOLARPIX.COM)

A British man has died in a gliding accident in the foothills of the Pyrenees mountain range.

The 75-year-old was hurt after hitting trees close to the runway as he landed at the Santa Cilia aerodrome near the northern Spanish city of Jaca.

Emergency responders received an alert around 4pm yesterday saying he was conscious and complaining of neck pain.

Local reports said he was alive for about 40 minutes after the accident but was pronounced dead at the scene after losing consciousness and going into cardiac arrest.

Members of an air club who knew him well because he had been visiting the aerodrome for more than 20 years are understood to have been with him in the minutes after the accident.

Aerodrome director Luis Ferreira said: ‘We’re all devastated.’

The dead man, who has not been officially named, is said to have been a regular at the aerodrome since 1999 and been a member of another flying club in the UK where he was a chef.

The crash happened at around 4pm yesterday (Picture: SOLARPIX.COM)

An investigation into the accident is now underway.

Photos of the accident scene showed the damaged glider in undergrowth near the runway with its left wing against a fallen tree.

Police tape had been put up around the fixed-wing aircraft.

The dead man was travelling alone in the single-seat glider.

An unnamed friend told a local paper said: ‘We saw him coming in to land from the aerodrome, ‘Perhaps he was going a little fast and high but we’ll have to wait to see what the investigation says.

‘We’ve known him a long time. He was chef at a very important flying club in the south of London.

‘He’s spent up to four months of the year here at times because of the passion he had for flying.’

Yesterday’s accident was the first in the province of Huelva, which Jaca is part of.

Santa Cilia aerodrome is regarded as one of the best locations in Spain for gliding, with the thermals and air currents in the area making it a reference point for both amateurs and professionals.

Thanks to its position at the foothills of the Pyrenean range, it is possible to enjoy a pleasure flight over the spectacular Pyrenees.

The aerodrome hosted the Spanish National Gliding Championships in 2010 and is visited annually by hundreds of glider pilots from all over Europe.

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