Conservationist dislocates kneecap whilst following swan migration

Sacha Dench and her paramotor.
Sacha Dench and her paramotor.
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A woman who is attempting to follow the Bewick’s swan migration has dislocated her kneecap whilst trying to take off in her paramotor.

Conservationist Sacha Dench in making the journey from Russia to the UK to uncover why swan numbers are declining so dramatically.

However, whilst attempting to take off from St Petersburg on Saturday (October 9), she stumbled on uneven ground, causing intense short-term pain.

In an update of her ‘Flight of the Swans’ expedition, she said she had rested it for a day but when she tried to launch again, the knee wasn’t strong enough.

This morning (October 11) she had an MRI scan in St Petersburg which confirmed that she had temporarily dislocated her knee cap and that nothing is broken.

The knee is still too weak for her to take off running, as she would normally, so she will adapt her paramotor with wheels, so she can take off without putting pressure on her knee.

Miss Dench said: “It was incredibly painful for a couple of minutes.

“My screams of pain were obviously heard quite some way away because, in true Russian style, an elderly couple suddenly appeared from the forest nearby and filled my pockets with cranberries that they’d picked ‘as they are good for the health and healing’ and they wished me success on my travels.”

She continued: “Unfortunately the cranberries didn’t work quickly enough for me to get back in the air on Monday and I’ve had to go for an MRI scan.

“The prognosis is as good as can be. I’ve not broken anything and I should be able to adapt the paramotor so that I’m on my way again very soon.”

Sacha took part in a series of test flight for her expedition at Arundel’s Wetland Centre in July.

She added: “I’m still right in the midst of the Bewick’s swan migration and I’m looking forward to catching up with flocks of them at the wetlands near St Petersburg and further down the flyway.

“Injury is always a risk for paramotorists, just as it is for the swans, and we just hope that it won’t hold me up for too long.”

Along her journey Sacha is trying to experience and record the migration as seen through the swans’ eyes, as well as meeting the people along the route who could share some insight on the drop of the Bewick Swan population.

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