A paraglider from Helsby is feared to have been robbed and murdered during a flying expedition in Mongolia.
Steve Nash, 53, of Sandy Lane, appears to have been attacked on August 31 while half-way through a trip with friend Gareth Aston, which involved hiking and paragliding across the Khangai Nuruu mountain range.
Steve, a chartered engineer for Inovyn, formerly Ineos Chlor, at Runcorn, had decided to carry on alone after Gareth was forced to retire due to a back injury.
He had seven days worth of food with him and was well prepared.
But there was concern when his satellite tracking system – called Spot tracklog – which can be monitored online, stopped updating.
Steve’s friend Malcolm Grace, back in the UK, told free flying magazine Cross Country: “(Steve’s wife) Shirley and I were first concerned when it was seen that Steve’s Spot tracklog was not updating and there was no end-of-day ‘OK’ message. The last track-point showed him stopped in the middle of a valley.
“Some hours later we got the devastating news from Gareth that Steve had been killed and robbed. His passport and his money were missing. Everything else was still there, including his paraglider – packed in his backpack.”
Steve’s body has now been flown back to the UK. His body was only formally identified today (Tuesday, September 13).
A Cheshire Police spokesman said in a statement: “Steve Nash, age 53, married to Shirley was an experienced adventure paragliding pilot. During August 2016, Steve was on his second 'spiralling the steppes adventure' to Mongolia, when his family were informed that he had died.”
A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “We are in contact with Mongolian authorities regarding the death of a British national, and are providing support and advice to the family at this difficult time.”
In 2009, The Chronicle reported how Steve successfully defended his X-Scotia title in Scotland, running 65km and flying 21km, climbing three mountain summits in the process.
He said at the time: “I am delighted with the result. I knew it would be a challenge. You run up or walk up the three mountains and then fly down them.”
Steve, who even at that point in his life had been flying for more than 10 years after training in North Wales, explained paragliding.
“It’s like parachuting but instead of just going down you can move from place to place, descend and elevate,” he said. “You can go a long way with a piece of fabric and some strings. You ride the thermals, like a bird glides.
“Part of the challenge of this event is carrying the parachute in your rucksack. I have to keep fit, I’m not a hell bent marathon runner or fell runner, I just run to keep myself fit for other sports.”