Seasoned paraglider who died in Llandudno 'could have been in the wrong place at the wrong time'

2018-11-15 07:10
Anthony Allen (supplied)

Anthony Allen (supplied)

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Anthony Allen, a paraglider who fell to his death in Llandudno this week, was a seasoned professional who would not have taken any chances, according to a colleague.

Ronnie Beukes, spokesperson for the South African Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (Sahpa), said Allen, 52, had years of experience under his belt.

"He is also an instructor, tandem pilot, a mentor for a lot of pilots and former national safety officer of the South African Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association."

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

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

Beukes said that it was not yet clear what caused Allen to fall to the ground but it appeared to be a case of him being "in the wrong place at the wrong time".

Weather conditions had not been extreme that day, although Beukes said that there was the possibility of lots of turbulence while coming in for landing.

Sahpa was speaking to witnesses as part of its investigation, which could take up to two months to complete.

"We try to get a conclusion and findings to teach people on how to avoid this in future," said Beukes.

The association's report would be sent to the Civil Aviation Authority, which would then release a final report.

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

An angel on the ground and in the air is how people described Allen.

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..."

A 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 his family.

Allen survived a previous paragliding accident in 2000.

paraglider

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

 

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

"The near-death saga and temporary paralysis left him yet more focused 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 15m 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 then.

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


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