The pilot had only recently acquired the hanglider from an acquaintance and was being assisted by two friends to learn to fly the aircraft. Neither the pilot nor his friends had any previous flying experience and there was no evidence that the pilot had joined or contacted the local hangliding association for assistance. Permission of the landowner was gained for use of the property and the pilot chose a hill which had a large dam, fence and power lines at the bottom. Several short flights were made by the pilot prior to the accident flight and his friends helped him carry the glider to the top of the hill for launching. On the final flight, the pilot was seen to be taken higher than before by a gust of wind and to have some difficulty with directional control. As a result, the pilot was seen to make a controlled landing but in the centre of the dam. His helpers ran to his aid and reported seeing movement under the wing fabric of the glider before it sank. This activity they assumed was the pilot attempting to free himself from the harness of the glider. The helpers dived into the water to attempt a rescue but were forced to return to the bank for fear of being overcome by the intense cold of the water. The glider was recovered soon after but the pilot was not in the harness which was still attached to the frame of the glider. The body of the pilot was recovered later by the police and the post mortem found that the pilot had died from freshwater drowning.