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Man dies after powered paraglider lands in North Platte River on Friday

File Photo (Trevor T. Trujillo, Oil City News)

CASPER, Wyo. — An investigation is ongoing into the death of a man who was seen crashing into the North Platte River in a powered paraglider last Friday morning.

The Natrona County Coroner’s Office confirmed the identity of the deceased as 60-year-old Richard Willms on Monday. An autopsy is pending. 

Witnesses reported having seen Willms flying over the county, and one reported seeing him land in the river west of River’s Edge RV & Storage at Santa Fe Circle around 7 a.m., according to Evansville Police Chief Mike Thompson. A witness at the park also reported seeing the parachute floating downstream.

The Evansville Police Department, Evansville Fire Department, and Natrona County Fire District responded. Willms was recovered, along with the paragliding equipment, near Edness Kimball Wilkins State Park within the hour, Thompson said.

The incident is under investigation by the NCSO with the assistance of the National Transportation Safety Board. There is no evidence of criminal activity, the NCSO said.


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