Stone the crows that’s close


Mystery rock blamed on paraglider.

A Queenstown mother and son believe a rock hurtling from the sky – narrowly missing them – came from a paraglider.

Says Darrell Thomas: “If that had landed on my head, I wouldn’t be here.”

He was with his elderly mother at her home near the Recreation Ground on Monday morning when they heard something whizzing through the air then thumping into the ground.

“I thought I saw a ’chute with advertising on it,” Thomas says.

After initially looking for a stray cellphone or camera, they then found a five-centimetre-diameter rock buried in lawn only six metres from where they’d been. Thomas went looking for paraglider pilots on the Recreation Ground and nearby Queenstown Primary playing fields.

“I spoke to an apparently independent operator who said he’d let them know at the top [above Skyline where pilots take off from].”

Thomas also contacted police and Lakes Environmental, who in turn put him on to the Civil Aviation Authority.

His mother says her big concern is anything falling on Queenstown Primary kids on their playground which doubles as a paragliding landing area – her grandchildren, Darrell’s kids, attend the school.

Darrell Thomas adds: “If it had hit somebody or somebody’s car, there would have been all sorts of drama but because it missed, nobody seems to give a toss.”

He and his mother are convinced the rock fell out of the pocket of a paraglider pilot or passenger.

Thomas: “I would expect some sort of acknowledgement that it happened and that they’ll address it so it doesn’t happen again.”

Incredulous G Force Paragliding director Guy McIntyre is adamant none of his company’s 15 pilots would ever allow a client to carry anything loose.

Recreational pilots also have the same protocol: “You just don’t have anything in your pockets, you can’t be jettisoning things over town or anywhere.

“I can’t 100 per cent rule it out but it’s just very unlikely.”

The only exception McIntyre’s aware of was when he had an air-sick Japanese client who vomited her top and bottom teeth over town.