Paraglider who broke 15 bones makes full recovery

John Milner has thanked emergency services that helped him after he crashed into Beer Head.

John Milner has thanked emergency services that helped him after he crashed into Beer Head. - Credit: Archant

A paraglider who broke 15 bones after crashing into the side of Beer Head has praised the quick response of the coastguard crew who came to his rescue.

Beer Coastguard and paramedics attending to Mr Milner.

Beer Coastguard and paramedics attending to Mr Milner. - Credit: Archant

The Beer Coastguard team was quickly on the scene alongside paramedics and the air ambulance to assist John Milner on July 31 last year.

The 61-year-old has made a full recovery and spoke to Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 last week to thank the emergency services for ‘looking after him’.

Mr Milner broke seven ribs, two vertebrates, shattered his pelvis in five places and cracked his shoulder blade after colliding with the 300-foot cliff.

The experienced paraglider said one of his wings partially collapsed due to an up-draught of warm air and caused him to drop 30 feet. Despite his injuries, he was able to reinflate the wing and land gently on Hooken Beach.

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Mr Milner, who comes from Lopen in Somerset, told the Herald: “They [Beer Coastguard] were great. They got up really quickly and they helped carry me to the helicopter. I think they arrived at the same time as the air ambulance.

“They got there so quickly, they must have a fantastic system for call-outs. For them to get to me within a short amount of time, they must have got hold of everybody fast.”

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The air ambulance transferred Mr Milner to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.

With 25 years’ experience and a member of the Devon and Somerset Condors hang gliding and paragliding group, Mr Milner has set off from Beer Head many times.

Upon impact with the cliff, he said he felt that ‘a lot of damage had been done’.

Mr Milner added: “It’s amazing that something like that will focus your mind. I think adrenaline takes over and your brain is very focused. Luckily, my canopy re-inflated and I was able to fly away from the cliff and land on the beach.”

Mr Milner will be holding a fundraiser in March in aid of the Devon Air Ambulance Trust and the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance and hopes to raise £1,000 for the causes.

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