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Girlfriend pays tribute to kitesurfer who died in Saunton Girlfriend pays tribute to kitesurfer who died in Saunton
(35 minutes later)
The girlfriend of a kitesurfer who died in strong winds has said she is "absolutely devastated" by his death.The girlfriend of a kitesurfer who died in strong winds has said she is "absolutely devastated" by his death.
Ben Witts was kitesurfing at Saunton Sands near Bideford in north Devon on Saturday when he was fatally injured. Ben Witts was kitesurfing at Saunton Sands near Barnstaple in north Devon on Saturday when he was fatally injured.
His girlfriend Cheylee Howson, who said she pulled Mr Witts from the sea, thanked people who had "rushed to help me".His girlfriend Cheylee Howson, who said she pulled Mr Witts from the sea, thanked people who had "rushed to help me".
Mr Witts was an experienced instructor and owner of Saunton-based North Devon Kitesurfing.Mr Witts was an experienced instructor and owner of Saunton-based North Devon Kitesurfing.
He was pulled from the sea at about 11:00 GMT and taken to North Devon District Hospital by air ambulance, but was confirmed dead later.He was pulled from the sea at about 11:00 GMT and taken to North Devon District Hospital by air ambulance, but was confirmed dead later.
Writing on Facebook, Ms Howson said: "I did everything I could to pull him out of the water and help him before the paramedics arrived.Writing on Facebook, Ms Howson said: "I did everything I could to pull him out of the water and help him before the paramedics arrived.
"Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to the amazing people on Saunton beach who rushed to help me.""Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to the amazing people on Saunton beach who rushed to help me."
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She said that Mr Witts was "everything I've ever dreamed of and what we had was incredible".She said that Mr Witts was "everything I've ever dreamed of and what we had was incredible".
"Nothing will ever be the same without you here... and knowing I'm never going to be in your arms again hurts like nothing I can explain," Ms Howson added."Nothing will ever be the same without you here... and knowing I'm never going to be in your arms again hurts like nothing I can explain," Ms Howson added.
Latest news and stories from DevonLatest news and stories from Devon
Mr Witts had been kitesurfing for about five years, according to friends.Mr Witts had been kitesurfing for about five years, according to friends.
Phil Parry, of West Kiteboarding, said his "thoughts are with his family" and Mr Witts would be "sadly missed".Phil Parry, of West Kiteboarding, said his "thoughts are with his family" and Mr Witts would be "sadly missed".
"He lived for the sport and it had always been his dream to have a kitesurfing school," Mr Parry said."He lived for the sport and it had always been his dream to have a kitesurfing school," Mr Parry said.
"He had achieved that and he was very excited about the season and pushing his business.""He had achieved that and he was very excited about the season and pushing his business."
Angela Calver said his death was "tragic news" and Mr Witts was a "such a lovely person".Angela Calver said his death was "tragic news" and Mr Witts was a "such a lovely person".
Police have handed a file to the coroner.Police have handed a file to the coroner.