Tomáš Lednik and his tandem passenger have tragically died in a paragliding accident in Kenya. The accident happened on the morning of Tuesday 23 January 2018 while he was flying in the Kerio Valley.
Tomáš, 46, was a well-known figure in the paragliding world and worked in the industry for Sky Paragliders. He flew at an expert level across the disciplines: XC, acro, accuracy, paramotoring.
He had been flying since the early 1990s and was highly qualified and experienced.
An experienced pilot who was flying nearby at the time of the accident said: “Tomáš launched at 8am, flying an early morning tandem. From what we understand – I didn’t see it – while flying along a ridge he took a collapse and rotated into the hill. He and his passenger were most likely killed on impact.”
The pilot, who asked not to be named, added: “About 10 of us spiralled down and top-landed near the accident to assist with what ended up being a body recovery.”
Tomáš’s passenger was US national Kimberly Ann Pace, 39 according to local news reports. She was a first-time tandem passenger and was “thinking of learning to fly”. She lived in Nairobi.
The pilot on the scene added: “It was the smoothest day of the week … it’s bizarre … truly tragic.”
Kerio is known as a good place to fly in January, when the long ridge and conditions can allow pilots to fly long, 200km flat triangles.
Tomas had been flying in Kenya since 10 January this year and had posted 13 flights, solo and tandem, to the online league XContest. The longest was a near-eight-hour 203km flat triangle on 20 January, flying the Sky Apollo Bi.
Tomáš Lednik filmed in 2014. Clip: Alosh Alamri
The accident comes two weeks after another pilot, Gerd Schegler, 55, from Germany, also died following a flying accident in Kerio.
According to local news reports the area police have asked the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority to suspend paragliding in the area and are investigating the tandem accident.
Cross Country extends its sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of both Tomáš Lednik and Kimberly Ann Pace.