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Sunday, 15 July, 2001, 20:58 GMT 21:58 UK
Two dead after glider accidents
Glider
Two gliders collided near to the border with Warwickshire
Two pilots have died after separate accidents involving gliders - one in the West Midlands, the other near Usk in south Wales.

The accident over the Worcestershire-Warwickshire border happened just after 1400BST when a glider being towed by a light aircraft collided with a second glider which was already in free flight.

Police said the towed glider made a forced landing while the plane managed to fly back to its base at the nearby Bidford Gliding Centre and make a safe landing.

Locator map of fatal crash site
The second glider, which is believed to have lost a wing, crashed between the villages of Honeybourne and Bretforton in Worcestershire.

An eyewitness said the pilot tried to bale out but his parachute failed to open properly.

A spokeswoman for Hereford and Worcester Ambulance Service said the dead man was believed to be one of the glider pilots.

A second pilot, a man in his early 50s, was taken to the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch by Warwickshire Ambulance but is not believed to be seriously injured.

Helicopters scrambled

The third pilot is understood to have largely escaped injury.

Two RAF rescue helicopters were scrambled from RAF Chivenor and RAF Valley in Anglesey.

The West Midlands air ambulance and a police helicopter also attended.

An investigation into the incident by the Air Accident Investigation Branch will be launched.

The three aircraft involved are understood to have all come from Bidford Gliding Club in Warwickshire.

Second accident

A pilot died after a separate gliding accident near Usk in South Wales on Sunday afternoon.

The accident happened at the South Wales Gliding Club at Gwernesney.

The club said in a statement the man was injured in a winching accident during take off.

He was taken to the Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport but later died.

The statement said flying operations had been suspended at the club pending the arrival of air accident investigators.

Sole occupant

A spokesman for Gwent police said: "Initial reports indicate that the glider operating from the site failed to take off and crashed back into the field.

"The sole male occupant of the glider was taken to hospital but pronounced dead on arrival.

"No one else was injured and no members of the public were endangered during the incident.

"The incident is the subject of an investigation by the Air Accident Investigation Branch and this report will be published as soon as possible.

"No details of the man involved have been released as we are still in the process of informing his family."

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The BBC's Sean Brickell
"An investigation is underway"
See also:

23 Jun 01 | UK
Three killed in air crashes
31 May 99 | UK
Three dead in glider crash
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