Paragliders tangle above Queenstown


Two paragliders carrying customers collided in mid-air above Queenstown before crashing into trees.

The experienced tandem pilots, from company G-Force Paragliding, came together shortly after take off from the resort’s Skyline hill at 11.30am.

One pilot managed to deploy his reserve shoot before both came down high in trees.

G-Force Paragliding deputy CEO and training manager Dominic Eller says there are no injuries to either of the two pilots or two customers.

Eller says: “A glider spun, also know as a negative spin, the pilot recovered that but during the recovery the glider surges forward, and during that surge there is a dive.

“Another glider was further below him as is normal when you’re in close to the hill.

“He didn’t have the distance to clear so hit the other glider.”

Eller says the pilot who spun deployed his reserve shoot. The other either didn’t have time or chose not to.

“The reserve was deployed quickly, and opened perfectly. The two of them settled into the
pine trees.”

The four paragliders were  extracted from the trees by members of the Queenstown’s Alpine Cliff Rescue Team.

Eller says at the time: “It’s hard for me to estimate how high above the ground they were, maybe 150-200 metres.

“It’s not a super uncommon thing for paragliders to end up in trees so it’s a case of extracting them
with as little problems as possible.”

Eller says both pilots have a high level of experience, more than 15 years each paragliding both in New Zealand and overseas.

An investigation will follow.