Final picture shows pilot dad flying into sunset one minute before fatal crash

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A dad was pictured happily flying his paramotor aircraft through the air just a minute before he crashed and died.

Andy Walkden, who had 15 years experience, can be seen gliding above the coast near Southport.

The picture was taken at 6.59pm on Thursday April 11. A minute later the first 999 calls were made about the crash near Royal Birkdale Golf Course, reports the Liverpool Echo.

His daughter, Kayleigh Worthington, said that seeing her dad looking so at home in the sky was “a comfort”.

She said: “Someone came to me and sent me a picture of him at 6.59pm, the reports said at 7pm it was reported.

“This picture may be seconds or minutes before it happened.

“It all looks perfectly fine, it’s nice to seem he’s going into the sunset, that’s quite comforting.”

Andy Walkden had 15 years experience flying paramotors

 

Mr Walkden’s paramotor crashed into the ground close to Royal Birkdale Gold Course before bursting into flames.

Fire crews, paramedics and police officers were seen at the crash sight with witnesses reporting seeing smoke coming from the area.

The accident was initially reported as a microlight aircraft accident but was later confirmed to be a paramotor.

Mr Walkden has not been formally identified by police yet due to the severity of the injuries he sustained in the crash.

Emergency services were called to the scene in Southport

 

Earlier this week his daughter, Kayleigh and son Aaron took to social media to share the news that their dad was the pilot involved in the crash.

Kayleigh posted on Facebook: “I just want to confirm that the person who lost his life is my dad Andy Walkden. I still feel like I’m in a dream and this isn’t happening.

“He still hasn’t been fully identified because of the severity of the incident but we know it is him.

“I just wanted to thank everyone for their messages, I’m sorry I haven’t replied to you all personally, I just haven’t had it in me until now.

“He was only 54 years old which is what I am struggling to come to terms with, he was such a skilled pilot and instructor and taught many people to fly over the years.

“He knew my thoughts on him doing this, and how I felt when he recently got the passion back and started up again, but it’s what he loved, which is what I’m trying to focus on to get me through this horrendous time in my life.”

Emergency crews were called to the scene of the crash

 

Aaron also posted a short message confirming the heartbreaking news and thanking people for their support.

He wrote: “I just wanted to thank everyone for your messages and I will let you all no when and were the funeral will be taking place.”

A paramotor is a motorised, steerable parachute that is powered by a motor and a propeller that is strapped to the pilot’s back.

Unlike a micro-light aircraft, a paramotor does not require a licence or any formal pilot training.

The paramotor aircraft or its pilot also do not need insurance or to be registered.

After the initial report that stated that the aircraft was a micro-light, all micro-light pilots in the area were accounted for.

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