Man dies in tandem paragliding crash

A solo paraglider floats above the Atlantic.

Following the second paragliding death on the Atlantic Seaboard in just over six months, the South African Hangliding and Paragliding Association has moved to reassure the public that the sport is well-regulated.

On Monday, a 58-year-old Irishman died in a paragliding accident off the Sea Point Promenade.

According to National Sea Rescue Institute spokesman Craig Lambinon, their Bakoven and Table Bay stations responded at 4.28pm on Monday to a report of a tandem paraglider accident in Sea Point with possible casualties in the surfline opposite the Sea Point High School.

The Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre (ARCC) had been alerted, said Mr Lambinon.

“It appears that two tandem paragliders may have collided in the air above the Sea Point Promenade.

“One tandem paraglider reportedly landed safely and both the pilot and passenger were found to be not injured.

“A second tandem paraglider reportedly deployed a reserve parachute and is believed to have landed in the surf approximately 200 to 300 meters off-shore of Sea Point Promenade.”

NSRI rescue craft and swimmers had responded along with other emergency services, he said.

The pilot of the tandem paraglider had made it safely to shore and was treated for minor injuries, but the passenger, a 58-year-old Irishman, had been on the rocks in the water off-shore of the Sea Point Promenade, he said.

“NSRI rescue swimmers and paramedics reached the man and he was freed from paragliding gear and recovered onto rocks where CPR efforts commenced. Despite extensive CPR efforts, he was sadly declared deceased by paramedics.”

In January, a man died from critical injuries he suffered after crashing into Lion’s Head while paragliding. (“Paraglider dies after crashing into Lion’s Head,” Atlantic Sun, January 16).

In December 2020, a 57-year-old man died in similar incident when his paraglider crashed on the same mountain (“Man dies in paragliding accident,“ Atlantic Sun, December 30, 2020).

SAHPA spokesman Louis Stanford said: “Paragliding is simultaneously a challenging and rewarding sport. However, it does have inherent risks. The sport is well-regulated and safety is always a primary consideration. As this matter has been referred for further investigation, we cannot speculate on this accident.”

Earlier this year, following the January crash, Mr Stanford told the Atlantic Sun that all pilots were taught to do rudimentary safety checks on their equipment and that maintenance and repairs were performed by skilled and qualified riggers. And Ria Moothilal, the instructor for Air School Paragliding, said accidents were rare, with only five occurring during his nine years a paraglider (“Paragliding safer than you think,“ Atlantic Sun, February 8).

A noticeboard carrying paragliding rules is posted at the Signal Hill paragliding launch site.