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In this first list are pilots we knew or met just once, and who passed away in hang gliding or paragliding accidents. The names are withheld for privacy reasons. The cases generally accounted for as human mistakes, but which could have been avoided by a better equipment design, are marked in red (if any doubt, they are left in black).

  • * Flex: hang glider, weight-shift control in the 3 axes
  •    Para: paraglider, no tube structure
  •    2: tandem
  •    Exp: experimental, aerodynamic control in the 3 axes
  •    Rigid: hang glider, weight-shift in pitch, aerodynamic control in roll/yaw
Year Sex Age Nation Wing* Cause
88 M 32 F Flex Sail failure low
91 M 38 F Flex Obstacle in final
93 M 41 F Para 2 Frozen, collision with terrain
94 M 27 F Flex Lost landing options
94 M 46 CH Exp Structure failure low
95 F 33 CH Flex Tumble low
98 M 38 F Flex Tumble, knocked out
98 M 32 F Flex Wrong hook-in
98 M 43 USA Flex Tumble, chute rope breaks neck
99 M 66 F Para Collapse low
00 F 30 H Flex Lockout
00 M 38 F Flex Forgotten leg loops
00 M 24 AUS Flex Blown launch
01 M 36 F Rigid Spin low
03 M 56 I Rigid Structure failure low
04 M 48 HR Flex Obstacle in final
05 M 38 N Flex Lockout
05 M 29 CDN Flex Swoop, pounded in
05 M 28 CH Flex Aerobatics low, collision
06 M 33 F Flex Side wire failure low
06 F 41 RUS Flex Lockout, pounded in
06 M 38 F Flex Frozen, lee, pounded in
07 M 49 B Flex Collision with terrain
08 M 44 MA Para Forgotten leg loops
08 M 44 CH Flex Tumble low
09 M 54 NL Flex Spin low
11 M 29 GB Flex Lee, obstacle in final
11 M 55 F Para Collapse, chute, high altitude
12 M 44 AUS Flex Blown launch
12 M 56 CH Rigid Blown launch
12 M 62 F Para Collapse low
13 M 26 F Flex Aerobatics low
13 M 41 CO/F Flex 2 Lockout
14 M 44 J Rigid Frozen, collision with terrain
14 M 71 I Flex High grass, pounded in
14 M 46 AUS Flex Aerobatics low
14 M 55 F Flex 2 Obstacle in final
15 M 49 GB Flex Obstacle in final
15 M 30 F Flex Lee, aerobatics, chute malfunction
15 M 52 F Flex Blown launch
16 M 48 I Flex 2 Forgotten hook-in

19, almost 50% of these 41 cases, which were accounted for as human mistakes, can also be seen as caused by poor design, meaning they could have been avoided. This is a personal list, not a statistic, but we are far from the legendary 90% of human mistakes…

In this second list are only tandem passenger victims we know of. One can consider that pilots accept somehow the risks of their sport, but passengers do not as obviously, they trust the instructor.

Year Sex Age Nation Wing* Cause
03 F 23 GR Flex 2 Forgotten hook-in
08 M 28 GB Para 2 Forgotten leg loops
09 M 48 CO Para 2 Forgotten leg loops
12 F 27 BR Para 2 Forgotten leg loops
12 F 27 MEX Flex 2 Forgotten hook-in
17 F 28 AR Para 2 Forgotten leg loops

At least 6 young persons lost their lives because of that typical mistake made by someone else. In one case, the captain was sentenced 5 months in jail for a fault, but one could say that the next victims were doomed at the same time: blaming extends the problem instead of solving it.

The unconnected passenger is an unforgiving configuration, as the only option for the captain in panic is to fly straight towards the landing, putting the aircraft even higher above the terrain. Nevertheless, one fortunate case happened recently, the video is easy to find (Swiss mishap).