Russian dies in SA paraglider contest
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.