Wednesday 21 August 2019

Man who died in paragliding accident became a father for second time several weeks ago

Rafal Skora
Rafal Skora
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

A paraglider killed in an accident in the Wicklow mountains at the weekend has been named as Rafal Skora, who became a father for the second time only a matter of weeks ago.

Rafal, also known as Ralph, was an experienced paraglider who put in hundreds of hours of time at his favourite sport since he took it up in recent years.

His body was found early on Sunday morning in a field at Ballinacor Estate, Wicklow, together with wreckage from his paragliding equipment.

The alarm had been raised on Saturday night when Rafal failed to return home to his home, in the north Dublin suburb of Artane, after a day out paragliding with a friend.

Rafal Skora
Rafal Skora

It is understood that Rafal and his friend had set out together but went in different directions and may have planned to finish at separate times, meaning his friend possibly went home believing Rafal would be fine.

A search party of fellow paragliders and adventure sports enthusiasts, as well as Wicklow Mountain Rescue, commenced a search together with the Irish Coast Guard Rescue at first light on Sunday morning.

The wreckage of Rafal’s equipment was spotted from the air by a coast guard helicopter, and Rafal’s body was discovered nearby when the ground search crews were directed to the scene.

His body was removed for post mortem, and the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) have been informed and will commence an investigation to establish the cause of the incident.

Rafal’s wife Dominika was today coming to terms with the tragedy and was being comforted by friends and neighbours.

The couple, who are originally from Poland, have a son aged around three years old.

Within the last few weeks they also had a baby daughter.

A friend, who is also a paragliding enthusiast, said he was shocked by the news.

“I can't believe it is Rafal. I just can't believe it. He had a huge level of experience,” he said.

“His parents have been told and they are coming on Monday,” he explained.

“Rafal has been paragliding for just a few years, but he has hundreds of hours of experience paragliding here and abroad,” said his friend.

“He has a few records for long flights, hundreds of kilometres. He's a really good pilot,” he added.

“He was supposed to be going to Spain in a few weeks to paraglide there, he was looking forward to it,” he explained.

“I hope that his death was quick, that he did not suffer. I don't know if I can continue with paragliding now,” the friend said with emotion.

Rafal used to work as a taxi driver, but more recently set up a business selling paragliding equipment online.

He was well known in the paragliding community as a result.

Neighbours said they were shocked at the news.

“I read it online and it said the man was from north Dublin, but I didn't think it could be Rafal,” said one close neighbour.

“It is very sad for his family. He was a really nice guy, and so happy to have become a father again. It is terrible,” he added.

Paragliding is increasing in popularity in Ireland. The sport involves sitting in a harness linked beneath a parachute-like wing.

The paraglider rides on rising air currents after pushing off a height.

There is no engine or mechanical means of propulsion in the sport.

Read more here: Man dies following paragliding accident in Wicklow mountains

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