Tuesday 25 June 2019

Tragedy as paraglider Ralph dies in accident

Rafal ‘Ralph’ Skóra with his wife Dominika
Rafal ‘Ralph’ Skóra with his wife Dominika

Myles Buchanan

An experienced paraglider killed in a crash in the Wicklow Mountains had only become a father for the third time 12 weeks ago.

Rafal 'Ralph' Skóra (41) was originally from Poland but was living in Artane, north Dublin, where he worked as a taxi driver.

On Saturday, he drove to Wicklow and took off on a paraglider from Black Hill overlooking Blessington Lakes.

He was last seen heading south over the Wicklow Mountains and Glenmalure.

His wife Dominika was the first to raise the alarm after she became concerned when her husband hadn't returned home that evening.

Gardaí and Wicklow Mountain Rescue started a search together with the Irish Coast Guard Rescue team on Saturday.

A rescue helicopter sighted a canopy on the ground on Sunday morning in a field at Ballinacor Estate. Rafal's body was discovered nearby alongside some wreckage.

The body was removed for a post-mortem examination.

The Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) was informed and an investigation into the accident has commenced.

Rafal and Dominika have two children together, three-year-old Benjamin and 12-week-old Julianna. He also has a 21-year-old son called Jakub living in Poland.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, his heartbroken wife said: 'He was the best husband I could pray for and amazing father. That's all what matters. I will never forget him. I'll hope to see him in my dreams.'

The Irish Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association posted a statement in their Facebook group, expressing condolences to his family and friends.

The post stated: 'It is with deep regret we wish to inform all pilots that Ralph Skora died tragically following a paragliding accident. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.'

On Friday, Rafal showed his considerate nature as he desperately tried to locate a man who had been traveling in his taxi and had left a gift voucher behind in the vehicle.

He used the Facebook page 'Dublin Taxi Drivers' on Friday night in an effort to trace the man who is to marry on May 24.

He posted: 'Hi guys, I found a wedding card and 500 euro BT (Brown Thomas) gift card in my taxi today (Friday 10th of May).

'Picked customer up at Merrion Row and dropped off at Spar in Monkstown. All I know is that is his (first) name and he is going to marry (first name) in two weeks time.

'I would love to get it back to him. Please share. Thanks.'

22,000 people shared the post and Rafal was able to trace the man.

The gift voucher is still in the possession of Dominika who has appealed for the engaged couple to contact her so she can return it to them.

A GoFundMe account has been set by friends of Rafal and his family to raise money towards funeral costs.

Wicklow People