Pensioner has lucky escape

A PENSIONER piloting a glider in the skies above Suffolk had a lucky escape after he was forced to crash land in a field.The 73-year-old, a member of the Essex Gliding Club, ended up in a hedge in a farm field at Slade Lane, Wortham, near Diss at 2.

A PENSIONER piloting a glider in the skies above Suffolk had a lucky escape after he was forced to crash land in a field.

The 73-year-old, a member of the Essex Gliding Club, ended up in a hedge in a farm field at Slade Lane, Wortham, near Diss at 2.10pm yesterday.

He had earlier completed a successful flight from Ridgewell to Norfolk Gliding Club's headquarters at Tibenham.

But he ran into problems after encountering turbulence as he was being towed back to base, and was forced to release the line pulling the wooden glider along.

The pilot walked away from the landing with minor injuries, while his club sent out a vehicle to recover the damaged aircraft by road.

A spokesman for the Essex Gliding Club refused to name the pilot, but added: "It is very rare for this to happen, for a pilot to be injured, or a glider damaged.

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"It is not at all uncommon for people to continue flying into their seventies. It is like driving – as long as you are reasonably fit you can keep doing it."

Matthew Ware, a spokesman for the East Anglian Ambulance service, said the pilot had escaped relatively unscathed.

He added: "We mobilised the air ambulance because we thought it was going to be more serious than it was.

"He emerged from the glider with minor injuries and was taken to West Suffolk Hospital by land ambulance."

The incident has been reported to the Department of Transport Air Accident Investigation Team.

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