Rus­sian dies in SA paraglider con­test

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PEOPLE - KOWTHAR SOLOMONS

A RUS­SIAN paraglider plum­meted to his death dur­ing a com­pe­ti­tion near Porter­ville yes­ter­day when he ap­par­ently slipped out of his har­ness.

Po­lice spokesman Lieu­tenant Colonel An­dre Traut said an in­quest docket had been opened.

The pi­lot, whose iden­tity will be re­leased once his fam­ily has been no­ti­fied, was com­pet­ing in the South African Paraglid­ing Winelands Open.

An­thony Allan, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the South African Hang-glid­ing and Paraglid­ing As­so­ci­a­tion, said the di­rec­tor had called off the race.

Allan said the 110 com­peti­tors had just be­gun to take off from the Dagk­lip Pass in Porter­ville en route to Clan­william.

“The pi­lot had failed to at­tach his leg straps be­fore take- off and slipped out in midair. As a re­sult he was hold­ing onto the har­ness with his el­bows. He at­tempted to lift him­self up back into the har­ness but failed, and as a re­sult fell from his glider.”

The pi­lot fell 200m to 300m on to Dagk­lip Road. An in­ves­ti­ga­tion on the ground con­firmed that the leg straps had not been fas­tened.

A joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the as­so­ci­a­tion and the Porter­ville po­lice would be sub­mit­ted to the SA Civil Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity.

All com­pe­ti­tion for the day was stopped. At the time of go­ing to press it was un­clear if it would re­sume to­day. The event, which fea­tured more than 60 in­ter­na­tional com­peti­tors, be­gan on Mon­day but was marred by rain on Tues­day and Wed­nes­day.

“The com­pe­ti­tion may be stopped or con­tin­ued as a show of re­spect by the other pi­lots. Ei­ther way it will be up to them to make the fi­nal de­ci­sion,” said Allan.

kowthar.solomons@inl.co.za

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