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James Johnston on launch in Roldanillo, Colombia, January 2017. Photo: Hugh Miller
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Kiwi Johnston: ‘Found at rest, under a tree’

Saturday 19 September, 2020

The search for James ‘Kiwi’ Johnston, the paraglider pilot missing in Nevada since 22 August, has concluded.

Searchers found Kiwi’s body under a tree on Friday. No more details about the circumstances around his death have been released.

The discovery comes a day after Kiwi’s glider was found close to a track, without its harness and with no sign of the pilot nearby.

A search party made up of Eureka County Search and Rescue personnel, Kiwi’s friends and local pilots located Kiwi.

The Eureka County Sheriff’s office in Nevada confirmed that the Eureka County Search and Rescue and private search parties had located James Johnston on Friday 18 September.

The discovery of Kiwi’s body was also announced on the search team’s GoFundMe page, which has to date raised $97,000 to help fund the search.

Search team member Amanda Jane wrote: “It is with great relief and deep sorrow that we share that James has been found, departed peacefully at rest under a tree.

“At this time these are the only details we have about the particular circumstances that led James to his untimely departure while flying in Nevada.”

Kiwi disappeared on 22 August while paragliding in the area. An intensive week-long search followed, and a smaller, private search has continued since then. Pilots and others around the world have been involved in searching satellite images in an attempt to find him.

Amanda added: “As a veteran pilot of 30 years in the worldwide paragliding community, Kiwi connected with an incredible network of pilots who rallied from all reaches of the globe to find him.

“We cannot thank you enough for your ingenious efforts, the combined intellect and mastery of the team behind the search who formulated possibilities against all odds, was extraordinary.

“The number of people who showed up who never met James, or knew someone that knew James, and the extended community that was affected by his life in some way was powerful to witness.

“The terrain was unforgiving and we are also eternally grateful to every person who showed up on site, during a pandemic and mass wildfires to search for our beloved.

“To the 500+ virtual image scanners – we can’t wait to show you the statistics on the feat of work you all accomplished – THANK YOU. To the local authorities who gave all of their resources and beyond – THANK YOU.”

We extend our sincere condolences to Kiwi’s family and wide circle of many friends.

This page will be updated as more details are made public.

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