'Something went dreadfully wrong'

Dan Vicary.
Dan Vicary.
The grieving mum of a New Zealand wingsuit pilot killed in an accident in Switzerland said her son ''died doing what he loved''.

Dan Vicary (33) died along with Ludovic Woerth, of France, when they jumped from a helicopter for a wingsuit flight in an alpine valley at Sengg, Switzerland.

A third man was seriously injured in the incident.

Mr Vicary's mother, Diane Peterson, of Christchurch, told the Otago Daily Times the family was ''proud of our boy''.

He grew up in Invercargill and went from climbing trees, to BMX and motocross racing, to completing more than 6000 sky dives, 750 basejumps and 450 wingsuit flights.

''He wasn't frivolous or careless, he was planned and calculated ... something went dreadfully wrong on Saturday.''

The family had an understanding of the cause of the accident, she said.

''Accidents happen and it was an accident,'' she said.

Following his death, her first reaction was to go to Switzerland, but the family was planning to hold a memorial service for him in Invercargill on Saturday.

Mrs Peterson planned to fly to Switzerland to spend time with his wife, Lisa Hutchins, and to bring his ashes back to New Zealand where they would be scattered in ''the mountains and the sea''.

Mr Vicary returned recently to New Zealand to do a current affairs show for 3rd Degree, spending a week filming in Wanaka.

The show will screen tomorrow.

Mrs Peterson said ''we had an amazing visit'', with a condition of his return being that he spend time with his mother in Christchurch.

''We had a lovely dinner together and he shared his future dreams and hopes and he did not ever want to be a statistic.

''He said 'I want to fly safe, I always want to fly'.''

Mr Vicary featured in an ODT article when he saved dozens of people after a tsunami while he was working as a dive instructor in Sri Lanka in 2004.

After the tsunami struck, he took a rescue line and hauled 30 floundering people to safety.

''Either you help or you run, pretty much,'' he said.

Following his deeds with the tsunami, he told his mother he wanted to be a skydiver.

''As a mum I used to say: 'Why isn't my son an accountant?' ... and I dreaded that call. But I knew that he was careful and he was living his life, and died doing what he loved.''

hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

 


Wingsuit flying

• A wingsuit is an aerodynamically designed jumpsuit with fabric webbing between the legs and under the arms to enable gliding.

• A parachute is used for a safe landing.

• New Zealand base jumper Alan McCandlish died after a fall in Switzerland in 2012.


 

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