'I was lucky to walk away' - Flying fundraiser describes crash drama

Norwich flying man Dan Jones, who flew from John O'Groats to Land's End on a paramotor

Norwich flying man Dan Jones, who flew from John O'Groats to Land's End on a paramotor - Credit: Dan Jones Photography

A flying fundraiser has said he was lucky to walk away unscathed after his stuttering paramotor glided haplessly into a tree.

It happened in Weston-super-Mare, while Norwich paramotor pilot Daniel Jones was working his way through a mammoth nationwide journey from John O'Groats to Land's End. 

The 27-year-old spent more than 34 hours airborne across the space of a week during the challenge, which he was carrying out on behalf of Alzheimer's Research UK - and has seen his fundraising fast approaching the £10,000 mark.

He completed the challenge on Monday, which was in memory of his grandparents, but it could have been completely different were it not for a stroke of good fortune in the Somerset resort.

Dan Jones, who has flown the length of Britain for Alzheimer's Research UK

Dan Jones, who has flown the length of Britain for Alzheimer's Research UK - Credit: Dan Jones

On taking off,  Mr Jones noticed his motor was slightly spluttering but decided to persist with his flight - a decision he now regrets.


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He had barely been in the air three minutes before gusts of strong wind saw him lose control, barely missing a hedge before veering into a tree.

He said: "I was lucky to walk away unscathed really. I did come down quite hard and rolled onto my side - I was extremely lucky.

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"The only damage I really did was smashing my spare altometer - so I think my grandparents were definitely watching over me in that moment.

"In hindsight, I probably should've checked my spark plugs and not taken off until I had sorted to engine, but I made it in the end."

The challenge saw him spent a total of 34 hours and five minutes in the air over the course of a week - which he said was more time than he ordinarily would have flown in a year.

He added: "It was really physically drained by the time I made it to Land's End but it was also an incredible feeling. It was exhausting but I was just so happy to complete the challenge and the support I had was overwhelming.

"But it was a phenomenal experience, once in a lifetime and I was so lucky to be able to have it."

To support his fundraising, search for Flight Against Alzheimer's on Just Giving. 

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