Medieval 'knight' dies after impaling himself on lance

Washington: A US man who was playing a medieval knight impaled and killed himself with his two-metre-long lance during a re-enactment performance.

Peter Barclay of Woodbridge, Virginia, who was a retired army lieutenant colonel, died after he was impaled with his lance in a competition in Williamstown, Kentucky, on Saturday.

Barclay was a long-time and active member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, the group's president John Fulton said.

Fulton said Barclay was competing in an equestrian game inside a large pavilion while spectators watched. In the game, riders had to pick up their lances from a hay bale and then ride, using the lance to pick up a paper plate.

Barclay, who performed under the name "Master Terafan Greydragon", had the lance in hand and picked up the paper plate off the ground and was finishing the course when the accident happened.

"Something happened with that spear," Fulton said on Wednesday, "and he lost control of it or it turned, hit the ground, and as his horse was moving, the tip of it went into him." The lances weigh about a kilogram and have a metal tip on the end.

Fulton said the lance's tip went into Barclay's abdomen.

"He got off the horse, took some steps and people noticed he was bleeding," Fulton said. Barclay then collapsed and was flown from the event to a hospital but died en route, Fulton said.

Fulton said his group was co-operating with investigators as they look into what went wrong. He said his group followed a "very strict set of rules" and safety measures for its "combat-related activities.".

Fulton said Barclay was wearing a doublet, which is a short, tight-fighting jacket. He said he was not wearing full body armour, which is not necessary for the activity he was doing, given that it was just a timed event with no other riders in the ring at the time.

Barclay had been involved in medieval events and re-enactments for more than 30 years and taught others how to ride horses and do the activities, Fulton said. The group has more than 30,000 members, including groups in Britain, Austria, Australia and Denmark.

Barclay took part in the event two or three times a month and was considered a leader in the group as its deputy for equestrian activities. Fulton said Barclay had recently retired, having served at the Pentagon for the past four years.

"He was the consummate expert," Fulton said. "He knew how to do it and how to do it safely.

"It was just something that happened and we still don't have a grasp of it."

While there have been injuries before, Fulton said it was the first time anyone in the group has died. He said it was "shocking to have this happen to one of the best people in our organisation".

"It is a horrible set of circumstances that caused this."

The Washington Post

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