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Monday, 25 November, 2002, 12:14 GMT
Man killed in catapult stunt
Catapult
The student died after being fired from a catapult
A student died after being flung 100 feet into the air by a huge catapult.

Kostadine Iliev Yankov, 19, was taking part in the stunt at the Middlemoor Water Park in Woolavington near Bridgwater, Somerset, on Sunday.

He sustained serious injuries at the scene and was airlifted to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol where he died at 1930 GMT on Sunday.

The 50-feet tall catapult is designed to fling a person on to a safety net which is secured above the ground.

Catapult victim
Previous participants have also been injured
But the Bulgarian-born student crashed to the ground before reaching the net.

He sustained serious spinal and leg injuries in the stunt.

It was not the first occasion where someone has suffered injuries taking part in the stunt.

In 1999, Stella Young, 44, fractured her pelvis after being fired from the medieval-style catapult.

David Aitkenhead, a partner in the business that organises the catapult events, said: "The human catapult is becoming increasingly popular among daredevils and extreme adventurers.

"Unfortunately on this occasion something went wrong and has resulted in tragedy.

"However, at this stage we do not know what and we won't know for a little while because we have not got access to our equipment.

Full inquiry

"We had already successfully thrown one of our own people and then another four of his fellow students and when we flung him something - I don't know what - went wrong.

"I am gutted and appalled at what has happened and obviously frustrated at why it has happened."

A post-mortem examination is expected to be carried out on the Wadham college student, who was a member of the Oxford Stunt Factory dangerous sports club.

Police in Bridgwater have launched a full investigation into the incident in association with the Health and Safety Executive.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Event organiser David Aitkenhead
"At this stage we do not know what went wrong"

Click here to go to Oxford

Click here to go to Bristol
See also:

28 Jul 99 | UK
05 Jul 99 | e-cyclopedia
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