Hang glider survives his 'silly mistake'

By Samantha McPherson

Reece Fisher admits he is lucky to be alive. Photo / APN
Reece Fisher admits he is lucky to be alive. Photo / APN

A hang glider pilot who fell 30m and nearly crashed into power lines says a silly mistake could have cost him his life.

Christchurch labourer Reece Fisher, 25, broke his femur, collarbone and two ribs when his hang glider hit the ground and slid along a paddock at 35km/h last Friday.

Mr Fisher was one of seven advanced hang glider pilots who launched off a hill at Governors Bay in Canterbury. The group was making the most of exceptional weather before finishing in a landing paddock.

But Mr Fisher said he noticed before the flight that a cord which allows the pilot to adjust wing performance and handling was tangled around the wheel but did nothing about it.

"I should've checked it thoroughly before I took off. It was a silly mistake that could've killed me. It was scary," he said from his Christchurch Hospital bed yesterday.

Mr Fisher was in the air for more than an hour before he struck trouble, five minutes before he crash-landed.

"I decided to pull on the cord to try and untangle it. It got harder and harder to turn. ... I tried to steer away from power lines but a gust of wind changed my flight direction."

He remembered little else, he said.

"I was told afterwards I was going in and out of consciousness and I had crashed in the paddock before the power lines."

Hang gliding safety officer Cris Lawry said an internal investigation would be carried out.

-APN

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