Paraglider killed in Port Hills crash

A paraglider has died after crashing into a road barrier near the Christchurch Gondola summit on the Port Hills.

Emergency services, including a rescue helicopter, were alerted about 11.40am today.

The crash happened near the gondola top house on Summit Rd, fire communications shift manager Ian Littlejohn said. Crews responded from Woolston Station and were on the scene by 12.30pm.

No one else was involved in the incident. Police were working to notify the man's next-of-kin.

Dan Campbell, president of the NZ Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association's Canterbury club, said the man who died was a full club member.

"That in itself implies he was a qualified pilot," Campbell told the New Zealand Herald.

He wasn't yet aware of the man's identity but said the club's thoughts were with the man's family. "It's a small community and it hits us pretty hard."

The area where the man crashed was a popular spot for paragliders and one regularly used, Mr Campbell said.

He didn't want to comment on the conditions today, as he hadn't been to the Port Hills, but said "any flying site on the wrong day can be dangerous".

MetService meteorologist Angus Hines said there were low winds of about 10 km/h or less in the area today which was "quite calm".

"It's not particularly windy in that part of the country - in fact, it's a fairly light northeasterly."

There was some cloud hanging over Christchurch city, but it was not low-lying and the day was by no means overcast, Mr Hines said.

Mike Richards, of the Civil Aviation Authority, said the organisation had been notified and a regional investigator would head to the scene today.

The CAA understood there had been a witness to the crash and would be speaking with them as part of the investigation.

 

 

Staff at the shops and cafe at the top of the Christchurch Gondola said they had not seen or heard anything.

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