Friday, November 15, 2013

Spain: British Hang Glider, 53, Suffers Apparent Heart Attack While Paragliding in Tenerife, Dies

According to News in the Sun, British vacationer Carolyn Dewdney, 53, an experienced hang-glider from Cheltenham, Glos, plummeted to the ground in Tenerife, crash landing in a mountainous area in the south of the Canary Island. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mrs. Dewdney was on a week-long paragliding holiday with her husband, Nigel, 47, who participated in the 2010 Paragliding World Cup and is the chairman of Malvern Hang Gliding Club, based in Malvern, Worcestershire. 

Mrs. Dewdney's husbandd, Nigel, told the Telegaph he was "absolutely devastated" by what has happened. 

The couple, who married in 2003, were on their first visit to Tenerife on a trip organized by Para 42, a specialist company run by British expat Henry Willder. 

Mrs. Dewdney was flying with a group of six, including her husband and Willder when she was seen to get into difficulty around midday. 

The group had taken off from a site called Ifonche at an altitude of 1,000 meters on Tuesday (November 12) and were about half-way through their flight over an area known as Los Dedos, Spanish for “the Fingers."

Willder, who has lived on the Tenerife since 2008, said: “More than an hour into the flight I saw that she had got into difficulty. The glider was out of control and it quickly plummeted to the ground in a mountainous area. 

COMMENT: A paramedic was winched down from the air ambulance, but she was already dead. 

According to a forensic doctor who examined her at the scene she had only light injuries – a broken arm – and in his opinion she had suffered an ailment while in flight, such as a heart attack. An autopsy has already been scheduled for Wednesday (November 13).

Dewdney, a registered nurse at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, was the third hang-glider to be killed at the same location in the past five years. 

Ken Shail, president of the Malvern Hang Gliding Club, said Carolyn Dewdney was an experienced glider who had participated in the sport for a number of years. 

Mrs. Dewdney's untimely death is a reminder to us all that anyone with a history of heart disease in their family or those over 50 should take the necessary steps to have a physician evaluate their cardiovascular health and do the necessary diagnostics such as blood chemistry and even a "stress" test if deemed necessary.

This report will be updated as new information becomes available.