Paraglider found dead after crashing in Charlotte County woods

Reporter: Emma Heaton Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:

The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office said Matthew Robert Bell, 60, crashed while paragliding in a wooded area of the Cape Haze Peninsula in Charlotte County on Friday.

Sergeant Richard Kaufman with the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office told WINK News the crash happened about 100 feet into the wooded area.

“Really unfortunate. Really unfortunate. Didn’t want to see anyone get hurt let alone your close flying buddy,” the victim’s anonymous friend said.

A mere couple of hours before speaking with WINK News, the anonymous friend lost his close friend, helplessly watching his friend plummet to the ground.

“When we were flying it was 3 mph winds it was perfectly ideal it was smooth,” the friend said.

“Responded. Try to locate him here in the woods. Because it’s part of the Cape haze preserve. So we began the search. Looking for him trying to see if he’s OK,” CCSO Sergeant Kaufman said.

Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Sergent Kaufman told WINK News when first responders located Bell around 8 a.m. on Friday, he was dead. And for the time being, there are no more details about how or why it happened.

Paragliding instructor and flight school owner Rick Davies, told WINK News paraglide crashes are rare.

“It’s pretty uncommon. It’s one of the safest forms of aviation. If we make good decisions while we’re flying,” Davies said.

Crashes are also rarely caused by equipment failure.

If it happened, Davies told WINK News it’s due to bad weather or maneuvers too close to the ground.

Click here to learn about good flight instructors for paragliding while training is not required, it is recommended.

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