Paraglider was flying in club day

The Rescue Helicopter at Mauao yesterday afternoon. Photo: Josh Harwood.

The man who died in a paraglider crash on Saturday in Mount Maunganui was flying with the Bay of Plenty Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club dress up and spot landing day.

Emergency services were sent to the scene at Mauao after reports came in he was found to have crashed into a rock on the side of the mountain. 

He was a club member and flying fully licensed in perfect conditions, a club member says.

Several members of the club who attended the event would not comment on the incident, as the man’s family was overseas and they wanted to wait for family to find out first.

Police confirmed the paraglider had been found at 5pm on Saturday afternoon, but would not say what state the glider was in. At 7.30pm the police confirmed the death.

The man is the second paraglider to die this year. In Januray, 54-year-old David Michael Jongsma from Wanaka died after crashing into rocks on the side of Wanaka’s Mount Roy.

Dr Jongsma was a local chiropractor and a member of Save Wanaka Lakefront Reserves Trust.

Earlier this year a paraglider had a close call at the Mount, and the drama was all captured on video.

Instagram user @draggonslayer was on the mountain, also known as Mount Maunganui, when he filmed a paraglider appearing to have trouble keeping his footing in the windy conditions. 

Suddenly the paraglider is whipped into the air as a gust barrells through before being dumped unceremoniously against the side of the mountain. 

People can be heard yelling, "Oh s***" as impact occurs.

The glider lost his shoe in the thundering impact but was otherwise unhurt. He reports the missing shoe has been located. 

The video was shared to Instagram page @kookslams where it has received more than 275,000 views and close to 3000 comments. 

At the time of the incident, secretary of the Bay of Plenty Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club Dominique Le Sellin said Mauao is a very safe place to paraglide and accidents like the one in the video are rare. 

"Generally it is quite safe as it is a coastal environment and we are not riding thermals," she added.

She refused to comment on Saturday about the death.

- Sunday Star Times


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