Unclipped Hang Glider Passenger Hangs On

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

A Florida man says he’ll try hang gliding again after his first tandem flight left him hanging on for dear life over the Swiss countryside. Chris Gursky’s pilot on the flight forgot to attach his harness to the aircraft and as they soared from the takeoff point Gursky grasped the control bar and the pilot’s leg for more than two minutes as the pilot raced to get them on the ground. As the hang glider approaches the landing field, the pilot places his hand over Gursky’s on the control bar to help him hang on for the last few seconds in harrowing video shot from a sport camera mounted behind the duo. “For 2 minutes, 14 seconds I had to hang on for my life!” Gursky wrote in the text accompanying the video, which he posted Nov. 26.

Gursky seemed upbeat about what he called the “Swiss Mishap,” noting he’d like to try the sport again “as I did not get to enjoy my first flight." He suffered a torn bicep tendon and needed surgery on his wrist after the incident. Meanwhile the Swiss Hang Gliding Association says the incident was “horrifying” and never should have happened. “The sort of mistake in the video is what you learn in your first hour of training,” Association President Christian Boppart told Swiss media. “It’s hard to understand what happened.” It’s not clear if the pilot will face sanctions for his error. In 2012, a woman fell to her death on a British Columbia mountainside when her pilot forgot to attach her harness. The pilot, William Jon Orders, was jailed for five months and given a lifetime ban on hang gliding after pleading guilty for criminal negligence causing death.