Newmarket: Glider pilot’s relief after midair collision

A PILOT who parachuted to safety after two gliders crashed in midair has spoken of his relief.

Gerard Dale was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital after he landed on the east side of Newmarket gallops, near the A1304 on Monday afternoon.

His glider smashed into nearby trees.

Witnesses described how Mr Dale’s glider had apparently gone into a nose-dive before the pilot decided to eject.

Mr Dale, who was taking part in British Gliding Association Standard Class Gliding Championship when the incident took place, told the BBC’s Look East how he feared he would collide with his abandoned craft.

He said: “I realised I was falling faster than the glider was and then I looked around and thought, where is this chute taking me?

“I felt terribly relieved and you know, instead of tunnel vision and just thinking ‘canopy, straps, release the chute’, I just felt relief and thought ‘I’m not going to die after all’.

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Mr Dale, who was released from hospital after being checked over, added: “We are trained in how to deal with all the eventualities which might arise during a glider flight – when it happened the training kicked in and it was, like, one, two three, here we go – and after that it was really quite serene”.Another glider, who has not been named, landed safely and had “no significant injuries”.

A spokesman for Cambridge Gliding Centre, who was running the event, said they informed emergency services and the British Gliding Association(BGA).

A BGA spokesman said investigations were ongoing into the cause of the accident.

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