Optician killed in Thailand horror fall
TRIBUTES were paid last night to an optician who was killed in an horrific accident while preparing to parachute off a cliff at a Thai beach resort.Adventure tourist Neil Queminet, from Colchester, plunged to his death yesterday morning UK time.
TRIBUTES were paid last night to an optician who was killed in an horrific accident while preparing to parachute off a cliff at a Thai beach resort.
Adventure tourist Neil Queminet, from Colchester, plunged to his death yesterday morning UK time.
The popular 38-year-old, who worked as an optician in Sudbury, had been climbing up a cliff with two friends to go base jumping – an extreme parachuting sport - at Ton Sai beach in Krabi province, 390 miles south of Bangkok.
Mr Queminet and his two friends had climbed part of the way, and as they prepared to strap into ropes for the remainder of the climb, he fell more than 300 feet, a spokesman for the Thai police said.
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He suffered head injuries and died at the scene, he said.
Known to his daredevil colleagues as Go-Go, Mr Queminet, of South Street, was an experienced base parachutist and had notched up more than 150 jumps from towers, bridges and cliffs around the world.
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He left for his latest adventure with his long-term partner, Hayley Pilling, more than a week ago.
The couple were with friends on a special trip organised by the brother of the landlord of their local pub, the New Inn, in South Street, Colchester.
Pub landlord, Paul Thompson, said everyone who knew Neil was in shock.
"Neil was a personal and great friend and a lovely man and we are devastated about the news.
"We will obviously all miss him greatly – he was a very dear friend," he said.
Last night, Mr Queminet's friends gathered at the pub with most barely able to believe that he was dead.
One regular said: "He was one of the best, a smashing bloke – we really can't believe what's happened."
He was well known in the Sudbury area, where his parents, Robert and Carol, who live in nearby Great Henny, run the Queminet Partnership - a media marketing company - in North Street.
Ton Sai beach has long been popular with backpackers and rock climbers, mostly foreign tourists.