Paraglider killed in Albany between Dingo's Beach and Shelley Beach in West Cape Howe National Park

Phil Hickey & Liam CroyThe West Australian
The accident happened near Shelley Beach.
Camera IconThe accident happened near Shelley Beach. Credit: File image

An experienced paraglider has been killed after hitting the water near Albany on Saturday.

Inspector Glenn Spencer said the 76-year-old man died after crashing into the ocean about 1pm.

His body was recovered by rescue crews between Dingo Beach and Shelley Beach in the West Cape Howe National Park, about 25km west of Albany.

Peter Hardy-Atkins was a regular flying buddy of the victim, who he said had taken up paragliding “late in life”.

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“This was a great adventure in his later years,” Mr Hardy-Atkins said. “Old people coming to this sport have to work very hard. You can never be sure about variations in the weather.

“After hot-air ballooning and launching rockets into space, this would be the most weather critical aviation event that you could possibly imagine.

“We’re always looking out for each other.”

Emergency crews, including volunteer sea rescue and State Emergency Services, were called to the scene.

Insp. Spencer said the cause of the crash had not been established.

“He got into some difficulty,” Insp. Spencer said.

“We don’t know whether it was the equipment or the winds or whether he had a health incident.”

Snr-Sgt Grant Pollard said the man’s friends tried to save him.

“Two of his friends saw him hit the water,” he said.

“They’ve then landed on the beach and swam out to him.

“They stayed with him until rescue crews arrived but unfortunately it was all too late.”

The relatively consistent flying conditions on the Albany coastline make it one of the most popular paragliding and hang-gliding destinations in WA.

Paragliders and hang-gliders use the Shelley Beach lookout as a launching and landing site.

It is a registered flying site with the Hang Gliding Federation of Australia with marked take-off and landing zones.

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