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A Sheriff's helicopter carries the remains of a paraglider who fell to his death near Gibraltar Road.  (Mar. 1, 2014)

Paul Wellman

A Sheriff's helicopter carries the remains of a paraglider who fell to his death near Gibraltar Road. (Mar. 1, 2014)


Paraglider Dies After Falling 1,000 Feet into Rattlesnake Canyon

The Pilot, Flying in Tandem with His Daughter, Slipped Out of His Harness


Search and rescue teams are in the process of pulling the body of a man out of Rattlesnake Canyon after he fell approximately 1,000 feet from a tandem paraglider he and his teenage daughter were flying above the Santa Ynez Mountains. The daughter, an inexperienced pilot, remained strapped in the paraglider and crashed into a tree. She suffered only minor injuries and was rescued by helicopter.

According to County Fire spokesperson Mike Eliason, dispatchers received an emergency call at approximately 12:30 p.m. The accident occurred near La Cumbre Peak off the 2900 block of Gibraltar Road. Eliason said a group of UCSB geology students hiking through the canyon saw and heard the man’s fall and helped emergency personnel locate his body. This is reportedly the first paragliding death in Santa Barbara since the 1970s.

John Greynald, a public information officer for the Santa Barbara Soaring Association, said the man “apparently forgot to put his legs straps on, which put him in a compromised position where it was difficult for him to control the aircraft and stay seated in the harness without a lot of strength.”

The Independent has learned the name of the deceased pilot, but we are choosing not to publish it until the rest of his family has been notified of his death.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as they become available.

[UPDATE]: The identity of the paraglider has been publicly confirmed. Find it here.

This article has been amended to clarify the pilot fell approximately 1,000 feet. Santa Barbara fire officials originally said he dropped 3,000 feet.



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