Pilot Plummets After Hang Glider Collapses Midair During Performance

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A pilot performing at a sports event experienced probably the worst panic attack of his life when his glider gave way, leaving him to fend for himself.

Adventure sports like paragliding, bungee jumping and hang gliding sure do give a brilliant adrenaline rush, making the risk worth it, but when things go wrong, they can go really, really wrong.

Just recently, Jon Gjerde, who is a world champion in aerobatic hang gliding, was in the middle of a performance at the  Norwegian extreme sports week, Ekstremsportveko, when his glider collapsed. Gjerde had just pulled off an epic spinning dive, turned into a loop, and was just going into his second loop when the glider gave way, sending him plunging.

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Fortunately, he had the presence of mind and skill to deploy his parachute, and landed into the lake below, escaping with fairly minor injuries. Still, it's hard to imagine the level of fear and panic he must have gone through during the few seconds.

Deploying a hang glider parachute is not always easy since unlike other regular parachutes, the ones used in hang gliding are fixed to the equipment frame, instead of the person. Thus, when the pilot is spinning out of control, opening up the parachute can be a tricky task due to immense movement and instability. For Gjerde, it was of course a near death experience but perhaps the fact that he is world champion in aerobatic hang gliding says a lot about his skill and level of training to have been able to handle a situation like that with such confidence.

Check out the harrowing video above.

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