A first-time hang-glider was forced to hang on for dear life after the pilot forgot to attach his harness and the dramatic four-minute flight was caught on camera.
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Chris Gursky, of North Port, was on vacation in Switzerland when he decided he wanted to go hang-gliding. He had no idea it would be the longest four minutes of his life when he realized he wasn't attached to the hang-glider as he and the pilot took off. Gursky grabbed for anything he could hang onto as the glider started to take off. The pilot was steering with one hand, trying to get them down safely on nearby land but the glider continued to fly higher over a wooded area. Gursky gripped tightly to the crossbar with his left hand and held onto the pilot's left leg with his right hand. Remarkably, he managed to hold on as the glider approached a field and he let go moments before the pilot touched down.
Gursky walked away with a broken right wrist and a torn bicep tendon and was treated at a local hospital.
In an interview with ABC News, when asked about the pilot, Gursky said "He made a bad mistake, could’ve been fatal, but watching the video, he did everything he could to get me down safely."
When asked if he would hang-glide again, he said he would.
The Swiss Hang Gliding Association released the following statement after the video went viral:
"In principle hanggliding [sic] isn’t a dangerous sport. Every year there is tousands [sic] of commercial tandem flights in Interlaken, without the slightest incident. On the said video a mistake is clearly visible. This should never [sic] happened. The preflight check is an elementary and important routine of every flight, and is part of every training. It’s really tragic, that in this case it obviously wasn’t done properly.
Luckily, the pilots reaction after the takeoff was very good. Without any jerky movement – which would have endend [sic] fatally – he steered the glider as smooth and fast as possible towards the landing.
Because it is a serious incident, we will continue the investigation."
The Associated Press reports Switzerland's civil aviation authority plans to question the hang-glider pilot after the incident.
As of Tuesday, the video had more than 1.4 million views on YouTube.