Belfast Telegraph

Pilot caused Co Louth power cuts

Almost 90 homes were left without electricity after a paragliding pilot overshot his landing target and got tangled up in power lines, it emerged.

The 52-year-old was practising a forced landing in Salterstown, Co Louth last month when he crashed into 10,000-volt cables near the edge of a field.

The man managed to disconnect himself from the canopy of the powered paraglider - which was entangled in the wires - and escape without injury.

He then contacted the ESB, which had to switch off power in 87 homes for two hours while the canopy was removed from the cables.

An investigation by the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) found the choice of a landing field with a dangerous obstacle was not prudent and not in keeping with good airmanship.

"The decision of the pilot to abandon the overshoot was prudent in that it avoided his body or the power unit making contact with the power lines, with potentially far more serious consequences," the report added.

The AAIU noted that the pilot, who had a total of 132 hours of flying experience, had admitted he became too focused on his landing spot and failed to keep a proper lookout for potential obstacles.

"He further added that it would be preferable to pick an obstacle-free field when conducting practice field-landing exercises," the report said.

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