The family of a paraglider trainer who died after crashing into a field have said they are ‘in pieces’ following the tragic accident.
Paul Kilburn, 54, crashed in the village of Pilling, in Lancashire, on Sunday lunchtime and was taken by ambulance to the Royal Preston Hospital where he died a short time later.
Mr Kilburn ran Manchester Paragliders in Astley and also offered paramotor training.
The married father-of-two was ‘paramotoring’ at the time of the crash.
Paramotors comprise a harness-mounted engine which is worn like a backpack under a paraglider wing. Unlike a standard paraglider, they can be launched from an open, flat field instead of a hill facing into the wind.
Paul Kilburn, 54, died after crashing into a field in the village of Pilling, in Lancashire, on Sunday
Mr Kilburn ran Manchester Paragliders in Astley and also offered paramotor training
Mr Kilburn’s son Dale described Sunday as the ‘hardest day I’ve had’.
He wrote on Facebook: ‘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.’
Niece 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.’
Paramotors comprise a harness-mounted engine which is worn like a backpack under a paraglider wing
Kerry McAllister wrote: ‘Heaven gained a funny and caring man, my brother-in-law Paul.
‘He was always fun and always trying to make people laugh.
‘Life can be incredibly cruel sometimes and it really is true that it takes the good ones!’
Lancashire Police described the incident as a ‘tragic accident’ and said the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association is investigating.
A spokesman for the force added: ‘We would like to thank all of those members of the public who tried to assist at the scene of the crash.’
The tragedy comes a year after paraglider Ben Jones, 37, died in a field in Pilling during a camping get-together with fellow flyers.