Tributes Paid To 'Human Cannonball'

Tributes have been paid to a Cornwall-based "human cannonball'' stuntman who plunged to his death at a daredevil show.

Matt Cranch, 23, died after a safety net failed during the Scott May's Daredevil Stunt Show at the Kent County Showground in Detling on Monday afternoon.

He was taken to Maidstone General Hospital by ambulance but died shortly afterwards.

Mr Cranch, who was from the Isle of Man but had more recently been living in Newquay, Cornwall, was described as a "loveable character'' and a "true gent who had time for anyone and everyone'' on the social networking site Facebook.

Among the dozens of tributes, many referred to his love for his VW campervan and zest for life. Friends of Mr Cranch, who was understood to have only taken up the job as a stuntman two weeks ago, gathered on the beach at Newquay to remember him on Tuesday night.

Officers from Kent Police are now investigating the incident alongside health and safety officials from Maidstone Borough Council, while the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has also been consulted.

Witnesses estimated that Mr Cranch was launched 30-40ft into the air by the cannon before falling head-first to his death as the safety net lay flat on the ground.

Scott May's Daredevil Stunt Show has been touring the UK since 1991 and features motorbike and monster trunk stunts. A statement on the website said all shows have been cancelled until further notice, adding: "Scott and the team are still reeling with shock and grief over the loss of their colleague and fellow stunt performer in the tragic accident at the show yesterday afternoon. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time. We would like to thank the hundreds of people who have sent such kind messages of condolence.''

Police said the show will remain at the ground while the incident is investigated. Acting Chief Inspector Steve Griffiths said: "My officers will be looking into this tragic incident to try and establish what happened.  The Health and Safety Executive have been consulted. At this time we will be taking the lead in conducting an investigation, alongside Health and Safety from Maidstone Borough Council, as we need to understand why this poor man died so that we can take the appropriate steps.

"I would urge anyone who has not done so already to contact police if they have information they believe may help us with our inquiries by calling 01622 604 210.'' A post-mortem examination is expected to be held later this week.

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