Tributes to paraglider as son describes moment police knocked on his door

Paul Kilburn ran Manchester Paragliders, and also offered training
Paul Kilburn ran Manchester Paragliders, and also offered training

A paraglider killed after crashing into a field at Pilling has been described as ‘a top guy’ by his heartbroken family.

Paul Kilburn died after being taken to Royal Preston Hospital on Sunday, with an investigation now underway.

Police said they believe Mr Kilburn, 54, was the victim of a ‘tragic accident’. The British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association has been called in to lead the probe, a force spokesman added.

Writing on Facebook, Nicola Westwood described Mr Kilburn as her ‘crazy funny uncle Paul’, and said she ‘just can’t get (her) head around it’.

She added: “Life is just so cruel. Only the other day you were having so much fun with Oliver and now you’re gone, just like that. Our family has lost a top guy. Such a big shock for everyone.”

Mr Kilburn’s son Dale said in a separate post: “Yesterday was the hardest day I’ve had. I woke (to) a knock on the door with news my dad passed away in an accident.

“Nothing can prepare you for this. We’re all in pieces. It’s almost as if you’re going to run through the door and shout ‘surprise’ like the joker you were. I hope you’re flying high. Love you dad.”

Mr Kilburn, from Manchester, is understood to have run Manchester Paragliders, based in Morleys Lane, Astley, and offered paramotor training, according to the company’s website.

He was taken from the site of the accident, off Garstang Road, to hospital at around 1pm, but his injuries proved to be fatal, police said.

The force later released a statement thanking those who helped Mr Kilburn at the scene.

Mr Kilburn’s death came just over a year after Ben Jones also died when his paraglider dropped from the sky in Pilling.

The 37-year-old was pronounced dead after landing in Duck Street at around 11am on Sunday, October 23.

The BBC reported Mr Jones, from Preston, had been flying with friends in the village at the time, while his friend and fellow paraglider John White said he was ‘intelligent, happy, and outgoing’. He added: “Because it’s a very small community we all know each other. In this sport, you’ve got to have an unusual character. But unusual in a good way.”