AN Edinburgh man has been seriously injured in a horror air crash in South Africa after his glider smashed through a fence before crash-landing on a farm outside the city of Bloemfontein, according to reports.
According to local media, the injured men received “advanced life support interventions”, with one being transported to a nearby private hospital by helicopter and the other by ambulance.
Mr Paterson’s family have been informed of his condition.
The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) have since launched an investigation into the cause of the crash, though it is understood the pair took off from the nearby Tempe Airport.
Paramedics and staff from the Provincial EMS College Unit and Life Healthcare dashed to the accident after receiving emergency calls from onlookers.
It is believed Mr Paterson underwent surgery on Saturday, January 5 to correct fractures in his left arm, however his current condition is unknown.
A hospital spokesperson told Bloemfontein-based radio station OFM that a friend of Mr Paterson had accompanied him to the medical facility.
The identity of the second passenger involved in the crash has not been released, however it is understood he is also in a critical condition.
SACAA spokesman Kabelo Ledwaba told Bloemfontein’s Eyewitness News: “Details regarding this particular incident are still sketchy.” He added: “But what we can say is just after 2pm, on Friday, we received a notification indicating there was an accident involving a glider, which happened near New Tempe Airport.”
Gliders are popular with tourists embarking on “aerial safaris” around the Free State capital, with dozens of companies offering visitors the chance to see some of the region’s best known wildlife.
The aircraft do not have engines and are kept in the sky by naturally occurring currents of rising air in the atmosphere.
It is not yet known if the plane had fallen from the air or crashed while landing or during the towing process before take off.
The incident comes less than two months after another British glider pilot, Peter Reading, was killed when his Jonker JS-1 Revelation aircraft collided with a rocky hillside in the Free State.
Mr Reading, 60, was an experienced glider flyer and Flybe airline captain, but struggled to regain control of the aircraft after going into a deadly tailspin during a planned five-hour flight near the Gariep Dam Airfield.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) officials are now liaising with Mr Paterson’s family and have been in contact with local authorities in South Africa.
A spokeswoman for the FCO said: “We are providing consular assistance to two British men, following a glider crash.”
She added: “We are in touch with the families and local South African authorities”.
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