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Paraglider killed and scientist seriously injured in around-the-UK record bid

Sacha Dench and Dan Burton were taking part in the world-first circumnavigation of mainland Britain to raise awareness of climate change. Ms Dench has previously been dubbed ‘the human swan’

Woman seriously injured and colleague dead in horrific paramotor crash

A paraglider has died and another has been seriously injured after a crash in the Scottish Highlands

Sacha Dench – a scientist nicknamed “the human swan” – plummeted form the sky during her 3,000 mile journey.

Dan Burton, 54, who was in a separate paramotor. He has tragically lost his life.

They were taking part in a world-first circumnavigation of mainland Britain to raise awareness of climate change.

Ms Dench had been attempting to make the 3,000-mile journey to mark the Cop26 UN climate change conference.

At around 4.45pm, emergency services raced to the scene of the accident near Lochinver but Mr Burton could not be saved.

Miss Dench’s condition is not thought to be life-threatening.



Ms Dench – otherwise known as ‘the human swan’ has been left seriously injured
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Image:

PA)




In a statement, the trustees of Conservation Without Borders said the accident happened in the western Highlands of Scotland near Loch Na Gainmhich.

The statement said: “We are very sorry to have to confirm that Dan Burton, the support paramotorist, has died as a result of the accident. Sacha Dench is seriously injured and is being treated in hospital. Her injuries are serious but not life threatening

“Both highly experienced paramotorists, our thoughts are with the family of Dan Burton, to whom we offer our sincere condolences.



A Police Scotland spokesman last night confirmed Mr Burton’s death in a collision involving two paramotors.
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Image:

PA)




“The incident was attended by police and medics and inquiries are under way to establish the details of the accident.”

Ms Dench was given the name “the human swan” after the raised awareness of the plight of Bewick’s swans by flying from the Russian Arctic to the UK. She also set a world record in 2016 by being the first woman to cross the Channel by paramotor.

The British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association said it would be undertaking a ‘formal investigation’ into the accident.

A spokesman said: ‘We cannot speculate on the causes of the incident. The investigation report will be published in due course.

‘The BHPA can confirm that both pilots were BHPA members and they were qualified to fly powered paragliders.’

A Police Scotland spokesman last night confirmed Mr Burton’s death in a collision involving two paramotors.


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