Aviation safety investigations & reports

Collision with terrain Wings Hanglider, 2 km W Lobethal SA, 15 July 1989

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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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.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 23KB]
General details
Date: 15 July 1989   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1550    
Location: 2 km W Lobethal    
State: South Australia   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Release date: 06 November 1989   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Fatal  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer No Aircraft Involved  
Aircraft model Wings Hanglider  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point 2 km W Lobethal SA  
Departure time 1449  
Destination 2 km W Lobethal SA  
Last update 21 March 2016