A British lawyer and fitness freak has died “sandboarding” down a 100m dune in Africa, it emerged today.
Mum-of-two Claire Lee, 34, was attempting the extreme adventure sport – known as ‘snowboarding on sand’ – for the first time.
Claire, who is married with two young children, was in Namibia to visit an extreme fitness camp in the country’s Okonjima safari reserve.
But after sliding down a giant slope she collapsed and died despite bystanders making frantic efforts to revive her.
Local reports suggest sporty Claire, a keen cyclist and touch rugby player of Guernsey, may have suffered internal injuries after tumbling over.
But the Namibian sandboarding firm who organised the session claim her death was triggered by a pre-existing medical condition.
Authorities in the southern African country are awaiting the results of an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
Claire was in Namibia with her personal trainer, Jon Le Tocq, whose firm Storm Force Fitness organises three day escapes to the wilderness retreat.
Clients take part in an array of sports, fitness and motivational exercises there to “realign and rejuvenate” their bodies.
Mr Le Tocq confirmed his client had been involved in a fatal accident near the coastal city of Swakopmund, west of the capital Windhoek, last Wednesday.
He said: “Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the family of our friend.
“She was a member of our small group on holiday in the country. At this time we are unable to comment further.”
The company with whom Claire was sandboarding, Alter-Action Sandboarding, describes itself as the “first professional sandboarding operation on the Namibian Coast”.
Its website says: “With time and experience, Alter-Action developed the safest and most effective method of sliding on the dunes.
“The ‘perfect’ sandboarding dune was chosen – a star dune with six different faces and a towering height of 100 meters.”
Founder Beth Sarro confirmed Claire had been sandboarding for two hours before she collapsed.
Ms Sarro said: “She was sandboarding with us and had just completed a run where she went down a sand dune lying down.
“She completed the run safely but said she felt funny then she just collapsed.
“Someone she was travelling with tried to resuscitate Claire. We were told after the incident that she suffered from a pre-existing heart condition but we had not be told about this.
“She appeared to be fine on the trip up until this point.”
The rest of Claire’s group were due back at the weekend.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it was providing consular assistance to her family, who live on the Channel Island of Guernsey.
Temperatures in Namibia can hit daily highs off 31 degrees C in December.
Visitors to the Storm Force Fitness camp receive a 12 week training plan to prepare themselves for activities including running, cycling, motivational coaching and core strengthening.
The firm’s website describes its courses as a “truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to free yourself from the never ending ‘to do list’ of life at home so you can once again feel that sense of exhilaration, freedom and energy surging through your body.”
Claire’s family declined to comment in detail but a female relative said they were still waiting to find out exactly how she died.
Her husband Barney, a partner in Guernsey law firm Mourant Ozannes, was said to be too distraught to discuss his loss.
The company’s managing director, Jessica Roland, said: ‘We are devastated by the news and our thoughts and prayers are with the family.”
Popular Claire represented Guernsey in several touch rugby tournaments.
Guernsey Touch chairwoman Katrina Bray said: “Her huge smile, amazing personality and sunny disposition will be remembered by so many who played beside her.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Barney, their children, and their family at this time.”
Claire’s husband, Barney, is a partner of law firm Mourant Ozannes.
The company’s managing director, Jessica Roland, said: “We are devastated by the news and our thoughts and prayers are with the family.”