By John Ensor •
Published: 20 Oct 2023 • 16:23
On the left, former Paratrooper Kevin Smith.
Credit: Northern Skies Paramotoring/Facebook.com
The ongoing war between Israel and Hamas has made many people suspicious of some of the most innocent of events, one such occasion took place just a few days ago in a town in South Yorkshire.
On Sunday, October 15, two paragliders inadvertently caused alarm in Doncaster. Kevin Smith, 61, and Brad Sanchez, 26, never imagined their aerial adventure would be misconstrued as a security threat, writes Metro.
The incident occurred on a quiet Sunday morning when a local woman mistakenly believed the duo were terrorists descending on Doncaster.
Kevin, an ex-military personnel with over four decades of service, and Brad, a computer programmer, recently took up paragliding. Their intent was merely to enjoy the skies and visit a notable site in Doncaster.
Kevin announced, ‘We’re not Hamas, and we don’t want to scare anyone or upset anyone who might think we are.’ Brad expressed understanding about the prevalent fears and stated, ‘At the end of the day, it’s just me, Kev, and the others at the club, we’ve never wanted to hurt anyone.’
The resident from Armthorpe voiced her anxiety saying, ‘Whoever thought it was funny to parasail over the village, it was in extremely poor taste.’ She further elaborated her initial thoughts, believing the paragliders might be staging ‘a scare tactic or protest’.
Both Kevin and Brad are novices in paramotoring, a variant of paragliding that employs an engine. They’re affiliated with ‘Northern Skies Paramotoring,’ near Goole in East Yorkshire, and often soar over the city with their group. Their Sunday flight aimed to catch a view of a Vulcan bomber at the now-defunct Doncaster Sheffield Airport, a relic from the RAF’s fleet used between 1956 and 1984.
The duo commenced their journey near Snaith at about 10.30am, achieving altitudes ranging from 600ft to 1,500ft. After an exhilarating one and a half hours in the sky, they landed just before noon.
Kevin said ‘We’ve been training for months to be able to fly up in the sky like this and we never thought or even were worried that we would be scaring anyone.’ Brad’s sentiments echoed a similar passion, ‘There is something about the skies that are free from everything, it’s not like flying a plane you just get a beautiful view of the country we live in.’
In light of recent events and weather conditions, their next flight might be some time away. However, Brad remains optimistic, ‘The next day that is flyable then we will go up there.’
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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