Death a freak accident

Kyle Wittstock in flight. Picture:Facebook
Kyle Wittstock in flight. Picture:Facebook

The hum of a motor at his back and a nylon wing leaving him suspended above an emerald coastline � a moment to appreciate how it feels, first hand, to be as free as a bird.

But the aerial activity became fatal for 22-year-old Mr Wittstock on Monday when he crashed into the garage door of a Linksman Street home in Yanchep.

Paramotoring deaths are rare.

Mr Wittstock this week became the first pilot killed while flying in WA.

His death has deeply affected Perth�s tight-knit community of paramotor enthusiasts, according to WA Sky Pirates Paramotor Club president Mark Wild.

�We�re devastated,� he said.

�The paramotoring community is a small community so we�re all pretty shocked about what�s happened.�

Sky sports seems risky to those of us who are happy to admire the dauntlessness of adventurers like Mr Wittstock from the ground.

But Mr Wild said he believed there had only been three paramotor deaths Australia-wide in the past 30 years.

He asserted it was more dangerous driving a car than operating a powered paraglider.

The aircraft comes with tight restrictions on who can fly it.

�It’s difficult to get into, you’ve got to get a licence to do it� you’ve got to get a pilot’s licence; it’s not something you can just go buy out of the Quokka and start flying,� he said.

�If it was something like kitesurfing, there’d probably be thousands of us out there.�

Investigations are continuing into how Mr Wittstock flew into trouble this week.

Witnesses said they saw him spiral out of control.

Family and friends have remembered the former Irene McCormack Catholic College student as a loving father with an eye for adventure sports.

Photos of Mr Wittstock, his newborn daughter and fianc� Kelley Romanelli proudly adorn his Facebook wall.

Members of the motocross community also shared their condolences, with Mr Wittstock a talented dirt bike rider.

His death follows two fatal paramotor accidents in Queensland in 2013.

One involved paramotoring champion Chris Atkinson (40), who once broke a world record flying for 284km at heights up to 2.5km.

With the ability to launch from flat ground, paramotorists hang from a nylon wing while propelled through the air by a motor at their back.

It differs from paragliding, which does not use a motor and requires a slope to launch.

Parasailing differs again in that it is done while being towed by a car or boat.