San Diego, OC Man Killed in Hang-Gliding Crash at Gliderport

Posted at 7:00 PM, Mar 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-09 22:01:12-05

A San Diego man and an Orange County were killed in a hang-gliding crash Saturday afternoon at the Gilderport in Torrey Pines, a lieutenant with the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department said.

The crash happened around 2:40 p.m. when the two men crashed and their gliders became entwined and fell around 75 feet onto the bluffs above Black’s Beach, Lt. Rich Stropsky said.

One was an experienced pilot and the other was getting an advanced certification, he said.

“Apparently what happened was the student individual was heading southbound and made a turn, a hard right turn right in this area where the flag is and ended up running into the other flyer that was in the northbound direction,” Stropky said.

The two were not flying together, he said.

The more experienced of the two was a 61-year-old man from San Diego. The other man was identified as a 43-year-old man from  Orange County.

Rami Abuhamra was planning on hang gliding Saturday when he saw the crash. He said the ropes from both gliders became entwined and both gliders spiraled out of the control.

“They started spinning out and they went into the mountain,” he said.

The two were pronounced dead at the scene.

The recovery effort was especially challenging because of the terrain. Rescuers had to lower a first responder down to the victims via helicopter, Stropsky said.

The victims were at the bluff’s edge, caught on a knoll right at the edge of a vertical section of the cliff, he said.

Rescuers then pulled the bodies up by hand and carried the bodies from the cliff.

The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office will lead the investigation and determine the cause of the dead, Stropsky said.

The wind condition at the Gliderport was gusting around 9mp that time of the crash, according to the National Weather Service.