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'Powered parachute' takes plunge in Utopia

Special to the Courier

Deputies with the Bandera County Sheriff's Office responded to a report of a plane crash in Utopia on Saturday, Dec. 15.
At approximately 5 pm on that date, administrators with the Real County Sheriff's Office notified the BCSO about a possible plane crash that had occurred near the 100 block of Coley Lane inside the property of Camp Lone Hollow.
Along with troopers with the Texas Department of Public Safety, Utopia volunteer firefighters and Utopia EMS, BCSO deputies responded to the emergency call.
After arriving on the scene, law enforcement officers discovered that it had not been a plane, but rather an Airwolf 912 - a so-called "powered parachute" - that had crashed.
Fortunately, the craft's pilot, Gary Cole, 65, and passenger, Michael Arthur, 43, were not injured in the crash.
Cole has had numerous years of experience flying both airplanes and powered parachutes. He said that as he was executing a turn, the craft was caught in a severe downdraft. This forced the craft downward, causing it to strike a tree and crash to the ground.