A hang glider pilot who fell 30m and nearly crashed into
power lines says a silly mistake nearly 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 the "exceptional weather
conditions" before finishing in their main landing paddock.
But before the flight Mr Fisher said he noticed that a cord
which allows the pilot to adjust wing performance and
handling was tangled around the wheel.
"It had happened before but it had sorted itself out. There
was no problems with it so I didn't think anything of it. I
should've checked it thoroughly before I had taken off. It
was a silly mistake that could've killed me. It was scary. I
am lucky to be alive," he said from his Christchurch Hospital
Mr Fisher said he was in the air for more than an hour before
he struck trouble - five minutes before he crash landed.
"It was a really nice, smooth flight. I decided to pull on
the cord to try and untangle it. It got harder and harder to
turn the hang glider into the wind. I couldn't untangle the
rope so I gave up.
"I made my last turn and tried to steer away from power lines
but a gust of wind changed my flight direction and I was
heading straight for them. I was focused on trying to land
"Five hang gliders had already landed. I don't remember a lot
when I hit the ground. I was told afterwards I was going in
and out of consciousness and I had crashed in the paddock
before the power lines. I remember turning up to hospital in
a helicopter," he said.
Mr Fisher, who has been hang gliding for six-and-a-half
years, said he had landed sideways on his left leg.
"It will take at least six weeks before I am mobile again. I
won't be flying again for a while. I will just take small
beginning and intermediate steps before I fly with the
advanced group again.
Hang gliding safety officer Cris Lawry said the accident was
unusual and quite rare.
"You usually have a few hard landings but nothing this
serious. An internal investigation will be conducted into the
cause of the accident," he said.
- By Samantha McPherson of The Star