THESE are the first pictures of the kitesurfer who tragically died on a Devon beach as Storm Erik battered Britain.
Ben Witts was airlifted to hospital from Saunton Sands beach on Saturday but sadly couldn’t be saved.
Ben Witts died at the weekend after kitesurfing in Storm Erik[/caption]
He was the third person to die after Storm Erik barrelled into the UK bringing winds of 84mph.
His heartbroken girlfriend, Cheylee Howson, wrote on Facebook she “did everything I could to pull him out of the water and help him before the paramedics arrived”.
Ben was an experienced kitesurfer and instructor – he ran a school based on the beach.
Cheylee added: “Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to the amazing people on Saunton beach who rushed to help me.
“Ben, I love you so very much and miss you even more.
“You were everything I’ve ever dreamed of and what we had was incredible.
“Nothing will ever be the same without you here. I miss your cheeky smile and the way you said ‘I love you’ to me and knowing I’m never going to be in your arms again hurts like nothing I can explain.”
West kiteboarding wrote: “As some of you may already know Ben Witts, owner and instructor of North Devon kitesurfing school, WhatSUP instructor and past WEST team rider sadly died yesterday at Saunton Beach.
“Our thoughts are with his family. He was a well known member of the North Devon kitesurfing community and he will be sadly missed.”
Storm Erik battered the UK with powerful gusts of up to 80mph, causing three deaths and travel chaos.
In west Wales, a large tree fell on a country road and collided with a van, tragically killing the man inside on Friday.
And a huge tree weighing several tonnes crushed an Alfa Romeo carrying a man as it travelled along the A384 at Buckfastleigh, Devon.
The 50-year-old, from Totnes, sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene, while the female driver of a Hyundai miraculously escaped with only minor injuries.
We told of the moment British Airways passengers screamed as gale force winds during Storm Erik forced a pilot to abort a landing.
Frightened flyers were clearly shaken up as the jet attempted to touch down at Heathrow on Friday, as strong winds built up.
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The Met Office issued yellow weather warnings for strong gales as the storm lashed the UK.
Met Office forecaster Sophie Yeomans said: “The week will get off to a cold start, with ice warnings in Northern Scotland as temperatures dip below zero.
“We should see some cold weather across Northern Ireland and parts of England and Wales.”
He was a kitesurfing instructor and experienced in the sport[/caption]
The young man was pulled from the waves but unable to be saved[/caption]
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