'Speedflying' thrill turns deadly

Speedflying uses a combination of paragliding, sky-diving and base jumping skills. File photo / Thinkstock
Speedflying uses a combination of paragliding, sky-diving and base jumping skills. File photo / Thinkstock

A 40-year-old Australian man has died in a high-speed extreme sports accident in Wanaka.

The man, who was flying a speedflying wing designed for high-speed flying close to the ground, crashed at Treble Cone shortly after midday, police said.

Wanaka police search and rescue co-ordinator Sergeant Aaron Nicholson said the man had launched from Pub Corner on the Treble Cone skifield road, a popular area for canopy flying.

Other flyers in the area raised the alarm after reportedly seeing the man lying motionless on the ground and performed CPR for about 40 minutes but were unable to resuscitate him.

Mr Nicholson said police sent a volunteer alpine cliff rescue team, including an emergency doctor, to the scene.

The man, who lived in Wanaka, was pronounced dead at the scene.

His body had been removed by helicopter from the crash site, about 200m below the Treble Cone skifield Rd.

His name and other details would not be released until next of kin had been notified.

The speedflying wing is distinct from paragliding but sports enthusiasts say the techniques are different, using a combination of the skills used in paragliding and sky-diving. The sport is considered to be similar in risk to base jumping and requires a high level of flying skill.

It involves launching from a mountain and flying and skiing down, using a specialised wing, at speeds of up to 100kmh.

- APNZ

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