Climate activist injured and colleague killed in highland paramotor crash

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Sacha Dench, who was attempting a first world tour of mainland Britain by paraglider to raise awareness of the climate crisis, was seriously injured in a paramotor crash in the West Highlands of Scotland.

Dan Burton, a member of his support staff, was killed in the incident, which happened late Saturday afternoon.

Dench is in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in serious condition. Nicknamed the “human swan”, she had attempted a 3,000-mile Round Britain Climate Challenge before the Cop26 conference, which was due to start on October 31.

In a statement, directors of Conservation Without Borders, which was founded by Dench, said the accident occurred near Loch na Gainmhich in the far north of Scotland.

The statement read: “We are very sorry to have to confirm that Dan Burton, the support paramotor, died as a result of the accident. Sacha Dench is seriously injured and is treated in hospital. His injuries are serious but do not endanger his life.

“Both very experienced paramotors, our hearts go out to the family of Dan Burton, to whom we offer our deepest condolences. Police and medics witnessed the incident and investigations are underway to establish the details of the crash. “

The statement added that the families of those involved had been informed and the Round Britain Climate Challenge would be suspended.

Scottish police said officers were alerted around 4:45 p.m. on Saturday.

Dench had flown earlier today with Burton, whose role includes documenting the climate challenge from the air, taking films and photographs.

Dench and Burton had landed before leaving around 3:30 p.m. The ground crew, which communicated with the airmen and picked them up when they landed, subsequently lost contact.

Dench had started his climate challenge in June, taking off from Stevenston in North Ayrshire.

In the following months she had flown over the UK, most recently over the Kelpies at Falkirk on September 3.


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