On 10th August 2015 pilot Dave Shields was flying the second task of the British National Hanggliding Championships. The final leg of the course involved flying along the edge of a lake, with the goal landing close to the shoreline.
Dave found himself low and looking tor a place to land, however the shore at that point was crowded with people. Water landings are generally considered to be unsurvivable without immediate help. However to avoid hitting anybody Dave elected to land in a small inlet in what he thought to be shallow water that would allow him to stand‘ He flared hard and landed on the water in the centre of the inlet but the steep banks meant the water was too deep for him to stand up.
Dave tried to tread water and shouted for help, fortunately Tony Stephens and his wife loana were immediately on hand because Tony had landed a little earlier and they decided to go tor a swim together in the lake They immediately realised the seriousness of the situation because it was not possible to unclip Dave from the glider. which was on top of him, and his enclosed harness would make it impossible to swim anyway Tony and loana and were able to keep Dave afloat long enough for a number of local bystanders to join them in propelling the glider and pilot to the shore where he was able to stand up, lift the glider onto his shoulders, and walk out of the water unharmed.
As a result of their fortunate presence at the right time and right moment, their understanding of the seriousness of the situation and immediate reaction. Tony and loana Stephens undoubtedly saved the life of a fellow pilot and deserve proper recognition, this recognition was unfortunately delayed as the following day Dave Shields sadly suffered an unrelated accident with more serious life-changing consequences that overshadowed the events of the previous day, Combined with Tony and loana's modesty this led to their actions not being given the publicity they deserved and we wish to make up for this in recognising them properly now