'He was a true hero of Hout Bay' - tributes pour in for paraglider who died in Llandudno

2018-11-14 14:11
Anthony Allen (supplied)

Anthony Allen (supplied)

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An angel on the ground and in the air is how people have described Hout Bay resident Anthony Allen, who died in a paragliding accident in Llandudno this week.

Tributes have been pouring in for "Flying Ant", since he fell to his death on Tuesday afternoon. He was 52.

News24 reported earlier that paramedics had found him lying on the front stoep of a house in a critical condition. They were unable to revive him and he was later declared dead on the scene.

It is not yet clear what happened to the seasoned paragliding instructor and aerial photographer, who was also a qualified aircraft pilot.

Western Cape police have confirmed that they have opened an inquest docket for investigation.

Daniel Irving told News24 on Wednesday that Allen's death was a big loss for the community.

Irving met Allen after leaving the police force in 2007, and they became close friends.

"He has been my shooting instructor, my mentor, he trained me in bush tactics, helped me in situations when I have been in danger and has just been an amazing and true hero of Hout Bay," he said.

Well-known and respected

He said Allen had helped set up the Hout Bay neighbourhood watch many years ago and had been instrumental in efforts to make the area safer and better for his community.

"Cars have been stuck in sand and he helped to take them out with his Jeep. Trees have fallen down and he has been there. I recently went to Imizamo Yethu with him and a whole lot of police looking for criminals. Many hours were spent doing foot patrols, being on the mountain..."

Another friend, who asked to remain anonymous, said Allen patrolled Hout Bay day and night, both on foot and on his off-road motorbike.

"He was responsible for [the] capture and handing over to SAPS of many criminals and is very well known and respected at SAPS Hout Bay... He was the heartbeat of Hout Bay," his friend said.

Hout Bay police station spokesperson, Warrant Officer Tanya Lesch, offered their condolences to the family in their time of grieving.

Allen had survived a previous paragliding accident in 2000.

paraglider

Anthony Allen gives the peace signal while paragliding over Llandudno beach a few years ago. (Facebook)

According to his website, he crashed his competition paraglider at Dasklip, near Porterville, in December 2000.

"The near death saga and temporary paralysis left him yet more focussed on making something positive out of his second chance. This took him out of effective circulation for almost a year including his rehabilitation, yet he believes the accident happened for a reason and jokingly refers to it as his most positive experience he would never like to have to live through again," the website states.

IOL reported at the time that Allen had been about 15 metres above ground when very strong winds sent him crashing to the tar below.

"This was a freak accident that no one could have predicted. He is one of the best and most experienced pilots in the country at the moment," fellow glider Geoff Legward had told the publication at the time.

Allen leaves behind his wife Beverley, his dog Glock, and their children from previous marriages.

Irving said he planned to follow in Allen's footsteps and "carry on doing what he is doing". 

He requested those who knew him to turn their lights off on Wednesday evening and light a candle for him between 20:30 and 20:45.

"I thought it would be a lovely tribute for people to take pictures of the candle and Bev can see how much we all care."

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