Hiker Falls to His Death While Trying to Retrieve Drone from Steep Mountain Slope in Wales

William Onion
William Onion Twitter

An army veteran and experienced hiker tragically fell to his death on Crib Goch in Eryri - Wales' largest national park - while trying to retrieve his drone.

William Onion, 33, had taken the device on a hike with five fellow hikers but when it landed he went down a slope to get it.

Onion Fell 160 Feet to His Death While Retrieving the Drone

During the attempt to retrieve the drone, Onion fell around 160 ft to his death. His friends immediately went to seek help and his body was found shortly afterwards.

During an inquest in Caenarfon yesterday, Kate Robertson, senior coroner for north west Wales, concluded that the death on November 11 last year was accidental. Home Office pathologist Dr Brian Rodgers carried out a post-mortem examination and said he had multiple injuries which the coroner said were the cause of death.

Before his death, on the way up to the mountain, Onion, had already slipped and fallen once. He was bleeding from his knee and finger and bandaged the injuries from his first aid kit before the group resumed their journey to the top.

Drone Landed on the Side of an Extremely Steep Slope on the Mountain

Onion had taken his drone out that misty morning, but one of the other hikers told his inquest that they had then seen it drop down the other side of the mountain. Witnesses said Onion had gone after it, but the terrain was extremely steep. Onion was seen falling "on his back, sliding down" the slope before going out of sight before one of the group members rang 999 at about 11am.

Emergency services, including police, an air ambulance team and mountain rescue volunteers, were called to the north face of Crib Goch. The casualty had fallen about 50 metres and was found lying at the bottom of the slope.

The inquest also heard Mr Onion had been in the army, serving in Afghanistan and the Falkland Islands. He left the military and set up a hiking business. Shortly before his death he had been on a recce to Mount Everest and had bookings for a trip there in March this year. His dad Alistair Onion said in a statement that his son spent seven years in the army, serving in the Royal Signals.