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Kite flier plunges to death

PUBLISHED: 08:09 20 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:52 03 March 2010

A KITE flier was killed after he was swept up into the air by strong winds and then plunged to the ground at a Suffolk town.

The 28-year-old man who has not been named was taken by ambulance to West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds, but died later from his injuries.

A KITE flier was killed after he was swept up into the air by strong winds and then plunged to the ground at a Suffolk town.

The 28-year-old man who has not been named was taken by ambulance to West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds, but died later from his injuries.

He was flying his stunt power kite with friends from Stowmarket on a rugby pitch at Chilton playing fields on Sunday.

Police believe the man was harnessed into the steerable kite and took off as winds gusted at up to 40mph.

A Suffolk Constabulary spokeswoman said: "It seems that there had been certain modifications to his kiting equipment which caused him to be lifted high into the air.

"We believe that he was hoping to float back down to earth gently, but he suddenly plunged to the ground. We are still investigating the incident, but we are warning members of the public to take care when pursuing dangerous hobbies.''

The man was seen flying his giant dark-coloured kite with at least one friend for several hours before the tragedy happened.

A cricketer who was coaching youngsters nearby said: "They had an enormous kite which appeared to be about ten feet across. The wind was pretty strong and I saw them being pulled up into the air a couple of feet above the ground a few times before they floated down again safely.

"They seemed to be really enjoying themselves and were still up here when I left at lunchtime.''

A dog walker said: "The field is very popular with kite fliers because it is a wide open space and there is plenty of room for them.

"We see them up here quite regularly. It seems that this poor chap must have just been caught by a really strong gust of wind. The wind gets up to quite a speed because the field is quite exposed. It is just an awful tragedy. You never expect to hear of someone being killed while flying a kite."

Stowmarket deputy mayor Gordon Paton said: "This is awful and very unusual, such a terrible tragedy for his family. This will be a terrible shock for them. Someone is enjoying their recreation and then it ends in a tragedy like this, I am very sad to hear about this.''

A spokesman for the East Anglian Ambulance Service said an ambulance from Stowmarket was at the scene within three minutes of receiving a call at 1.45pm on Sunday.

He said: "We were called to a man who was unconscious and has fallen from a height. He was unconscious, but breathing."

The spokesman said they sent an ambulance and a response vehicle and believed he was still alive on arrival at hospital.

Police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the accident. An inquest into the man's death will be held.


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