Fatal speed-gliding crash near Wanaka

19:09, Feb 19 2012

The man who died speed-flying near Wanaka today was an Australian canopy-sport pilot, police say.

The man, 40, who had been living in Wanaka, was flying a speed-flying wing which crashed shortly after midday.

The man had suffered "significant impact injuries" in the crash, Wanaka search and rescue coordinator Sergeant Aaron Nicholson said this evening.

His name and other details will not be released until next of kin have been notified.

Nicholson said the man had launched the wing from Pub Corner on the Treble Cone skifield road, a popular area for canopy flying.

Other flyers in the area performed CPR on the man for about 40 minutes but were unable to resuscitate him.

Nicholson said police were notified of the accident just after midday and despatched a volunteer alpine cliff rescue team from LandSAR Wanaka, including an emergency doctor.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene and the body was removed by helicopter long-line from the crash site about 200m below the access road.

Nicholson said a speed-flying wing is distinct from paragliding and uses 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, he said.

The accident has been referred to the coroner.



The Southland Times