Missoula paraglider Casey Bedell dies in crash during Chilean competition

Casey Bedell (Missoula Smokejumper Facebook page)

(KPAX) The Chilean Air Force is reporting that a Missoula paraglider has died while competing in an international paragliding championship in Chile.

According to a report from the Chilean Air Force, Casey Bedell was found by a Chilean search and rescue team after it had successfully rescued one other paraglider who was competing in the championship.

The Chilean Air Force report said Bedell was stabilized on site by specialized personnel and was transferred to a medical center. But due to the seriousness of the injuries, Bedell was not able to make it and died in the care center.

Bedell and his wife, Jennifer, own Blackbird Paragliding out of Missoula. In a previous interview about his role as an instructor, he said, “I wanted to make it accessible to anybody and get anybody who wants to fly a chance to fly.”

The Facebook page for the Missoula Smokejumper Visitor Center shared a post about Bedell’s passing:

“It is with a heavy heart that I relay the news of the passing of one of our smokejumper brothers. He was newly married and above all a friend to all. He passed a few days ago after a crash at a paragliding competition down in Chile. He and his wife Jen were very influential in the paragliding community in Missoula and had many students who learned from them at @blackbirdparagliding.

For more information about Casey and Jen, and to support Jen in this time, please follow the link in our bio to the Gofundme.com page that has been established. 📸’s: Casey’s good friend @_stevengerard_

gofundme.com/f/memorial-fund-for-casey-and-care-for-jen

Bedell was featured in a Missoula Current story earlier this year, when his Blackbird Paragliding introduced an adaptive chair that allowed him to take disabled residents for flights above the Missoula Valley.

Adaptive paragliding: ‘Missoula’s skies are open to everyone’