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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 October, 2003, 07:27 GMT 08:27 UK
Sportsman in French death plunge
Aiguille du Midi
The Aiguille du Midi is popular with paragliders
A Scottish extreme sportsman plunged 3,700ft to his death after a daredevil stunt in the French Alps went horribly wrong.

Paul McLeod, 29, from Grantown, Moray in Scotland, died along with Pete Grounsell, 32, from New Zealand, when the pair fell from Aiguille du Midi in the Mont Blanc range, near Chamonix.

The friends were about to take off in a double-harnessed parapente, a large parachute like a hang-glider, when they stumbled near the edge.

A helicopter was scrambled to airlift the pair but they were pronounced dead at 0930 BST on September 19.

It is thought the plan had been for Mr McLeod to unclip himself from the parapente and parachute to land after free-falling a short distance.

Jean Claudon, of Chamonix mountain rescue, confirmed the accident.

He said: "The two men died after falling from the edge of Aiguille du Midi in a parapente accident.

"We think they were running to the edge together and at the moment of deploying the parapente they tripped and fell.

"They slid in the snow down the side of the mountain very high, well over 1,000 metres, and we found them with massive injuries."

Mr McLeod, an expert ski mountaineer, had lived in Chamonix for 10 years.

His parents Billy and Katharine, who have just returned home to Grantown, from Chamonix, where they identified their son's body, were too distraught to speak.

But his mother said her son's body was being returned to Scotland for a funeral at Inverallan Church, Grantown, before cremation at Inverness crematorium on Friday, 3 October.


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