Fiancée watched paraglider die as he crashed into power line

Jimmy Nsubuga
·3-min read
Paraglider Wayne Seeley had taken off in Selsley Hill   Gloucestershire (Getty)
Paraglider Wayne Seeley had taken off in Selsley Hill Gloucestershire (Getty)

A top British paraglider crashed into power cables after calling his fiancée from the air and asking her to watch him land near their home, an inquest heard.

Wayne Seeley, 41, descended towards a school playing field but touched high voltage overhead lines as partner Leanna Bishop looked on from their garden in Eastington, Gloucestershire, on 2 June last year.

Police later told her he had died, she told Gloucester Coroner's Court.

Paying tribute after the hearing, Bishop said: "Wayne was loved by so many.

''I never knew what true love was till I met Wayne – he was my fiancé, best friend, soulmate, protector and strength, who helped me through some tough times and pieced me back together.

"Words don’t do him justice, he was so kind, caring, passionate, patient and funny. We were so happy and were planning to marry and start a family."

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Seeley and his fiancee Leanna Bishop lived in Eastington, Gloucestershire (Google)
Seeley and his fiancee Leanna Bishop lived in Eastington, Gloucestershire (Google)

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The inquest heard Seeley had landed in the school field on three or four previous occasions.

Bishop stated she had been in constant communication with him as he flew.

He texted her shortly after 12pm to say he was on nearby Selsley Hill and about to fly, she said.

An hour later he called while flying to say he was going to land in the field near their home and told her to go out and watch.

The inquest was told Bishop watched from her garden and saw him coming into land as normal and everything seemed fine.

But as he came into land, she saw Seeley’s harness skim the power line over the field.

A male friend who was watching with Bishop immediately ran over towards Seeley while others called the emergency services.

Sadly, despite the efforts of the paramedics, he died.

The inquest heard Seeley had been paragliding for 25 years, having started at the age of 16, and normally flew with friends.

He had obtained his British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association certification in 1996 and belonged to the Avon Paragliding Club.

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Seeley was active in the national cross-country Paragliding League and was rated one of the country’s top ten pilots for the previous three years.

As one of the country’s top fliers he was known throughout the paragliding community.

He had flown over the Swiss Alps and all over the UK.

In a statement Mark Shaw, a technical officer for the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, said: “Mr Seeley was considered a careful flyer.

“A witness reported that Mr Seeley had previously stated that he was fully aware of the high voltage power cables crossing the field and stated that it needed perfect conditions in order to land safely.”

A formal investigation found his flying equipment was airworthy and was not considered a contributing factor.

The inquest confirmed Seeley died from electrocution.

Assistant coroner Roland Wooderson offered his condolences to Seeley’s family before recording a conclusion of accidental death.

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