First-time hang-glider’s pilot forgets to attach him to the craft

A man who went hang gliding for the first time had to cling onto a metal bar for more than two minutes when his pilot forgot to hook him onto the glider, heart-stopping footage has shown.

The terrifying clip from Chris Gursky’s first day on holiday in Switzerland has been shared by the YouTuber – after the fun activity turned into a ‘near death experience.’

The auto-parts manager and photographer from Florida had to ‘hang on for his life’ during the ride he videoed, and later named ‘Swiss Mishap’.

After taking off from a 4,000 ft mountain edge Mr Gursky had to hang on for two minutes and 14 seconds, as the pilot desperately trying to steer with one hand to get him safely to the ground.

Youtuber Chris Gursky (Gursk3) (left) holds onto the pilot as they prepare to take off but he isn't attached

Youtuber Chris Gursky (Gursk3) (left) holds onto the pilot as they prepare to take off but he isn’t attached

Chris slipped soon after the pair took off in Switzerland and had to cling on to a metal bar 

Chris showed 'superman' strength as he gripped onto the bar according to those who watched

Chris showed ‘superman’ strength as he gripped onto the bar according to those who watched

Homes, trees and hard ground were all that were in sight for Mr Gursky to land on if he fell

Homes, trees and hard ground were all that were in sight for Mr Gursky to land on if he fell

Seconds after Chris, who is wearing a checked shirt and white helmet, and the pilot took off they realise that he is not attached.

Chris tightly grips a metal bar with his left hand in the video and holds onto the instructors back with his right as they glide over trees and fields.

The pilot tries his best to bring them down but is having trouble controlling the glider.

As they fly over more trees the craft goes higher and the pilot desperately grabs onto his passenger with his left hand. 

They glide through the air but the first-time glider has to cling onto a metal bar for the flight

They glide through the air but the first-time glider has to cling onto a metal bar for the flight

Mr Gursky's wife Gail was away gliding over the scenic Swiss Alps while her husband was holding tight to a pilot

Mr Gursky’s wife Gail was away gliding over the scenic Swiss Alps while her husband was holding tight to a pilot

Soon after take-off Chris was dangling on for dear life as the pilot attempted to hold him up

Soon after take-off Chris was dangling on for dear life as the pilot attempted to hold him up

The men rise higher before the pilot gets the glider under control and starts to head down to the ground. Chris had to cling on for two minutes and 14 seconds during the terrifying ride

The men rise higher before the pilot gets the glider under control and starts to head down to the ground. Chris had to cling on for two minutes and 14 seconds during the terrifying ride

The pilot attempted to being Chris close to the ground as quickly as possible 

The pilot attempted to being Chris close to the ground as quickly as possible 

As they begin their decent Chris clings to the pilot’s leg but starts to lose his grip on the metal bar.

Eventually he was close enough to the ground to let go in what appears to be footage filmed in Interlaken, Switzerland.

Chris tore his left bicep tendon and had to have surgery on his right wrist after it suffered a distal radius fracture from the impact of dropping to the floor.

After an intense two minute flight the pair approach the ground and Chris lets go of the craft – as the pilot continues over the field and lands properly.

Mr Gursky said: ‘My body weight shifted straight down and I found myself hanging on for my life.

The pilot appeared to be looking for the best place to land as quickly as possible as Chris clung to his leg

The pilot appeared to be looking for the best place to land as quickly as possible as Chris clung to his leg

‘I remember looking down and thinking, this is it. I was losing grip with my right hand, that was holding onto a strap on the pilot’s right shoulder. He was trying to make a bee line to the landing field as he knew what the situation could bring.

‘My left hand was on the cross bar that was ultimately the landing gear, with a wheel on each side. As we were going down for a hot landing I was slowly losing my grip with my right hand as I was swinging in the wind with the glider.

‘The pilot grabbed my hand, but like in the movies it was a slow motion slipping of the grip until my right hand slipped off and I grabbed another strap on his left side for a bit but this slipped off also.

‘I ended up holding on bar with the left hand and the lower part of his leg with the right when we were nearing the ground. I looked down to see my feet hit first, which ripped me off at about 45 mph as it was a hot landing and I was under the landing gear.

‘I would guesstimate the total flight time was about 5 minutes. When I sat up I knew something was wrong and saw that my wrist was broken. 

‘For two min. 14 seconds I had to hang on for my life! The landing was a rough one, but I lived to tell the story.

‘Upon impact my right wrist suffered a distal radius fracture, which required surgery.

‘A titanium plate and seven screws were installed and I was released the following afternoon. I also tore my left bicep tendon from holding on for so long. It beats the alternative.’ 

Viewers said they were 'on the edge' as they watched the entire two minute clip wondering whether Chris would fall

Viewers said they were ‘on the edge’ as they watched the entire two minute clip wondering whether Chris would fall

Chris entertained fans with his video commentary as he was praised for taking his 'near-death' experience so well

Chris entertained fans with his video commentary as he was praised for taking his ‘near-death’ experience so well

He finally drops from the glider but fractured his wrist in the fall and tore his bicep tendon from holding on so tightly

He finally drops from the glider but fractured his wrist in the fall and tore his bicep tendon from holding on so tightly

Chris took off and discovered the instructor had failed to attach him to the glider. He sustained a fractured wrist upon landing and a torn bicep

Chris took off and discovered the instructor had failed to attach him to the glider. He sustained a fractured wrist upon landing and a torn bicep

Chris fractured his wrist and a tore his bicep tendon from hanging on the whole time

Chris fractured his wrist and a tore his bicep tendon from hanging on the whole time

Chris Gursky of Florida and his wife, Gail, were on vacation in Switzerland in October, 2018, and decided to try hang gliding when it all went wrong

Chris Gursky of Florida and his wife, Gail, were on vacation in Switzerland in October, 2018, and decided to try hang gliding when it all went wrong

Despite his terrifying ordeal, Chris praised the pilot and even said he’d try hang gliding again.

He said: ‘While the pilot made a critical error in our pre-flight set up by not attaching me to the glider, he did all he could to get me down to the ground as quickly as possible while grabbing onto my harness and flying with one hand.

‘I will go hang gliding again as I did not enjoy my first flight.’ 

YouTube viewers were stunned by the footage and called Chris ‘superman’.

Dustin Blanchard said: ‘Holy s*** man I was on the edge of my seat the whole video… glad you’re ok… 

‘I’ve always wondered what would happen if you didn’t clip in… now I know.’

Nelson’s Wings added: ‘You have amazing, superhuman grip strength! You had great focus and will to live.

‘Wonderful you survived. Not sure if it would have helped, but there are two tricks climbers use to desperately cling to things. One is to hook an elbow over the bar, and use the other hand to lock the elbow. The other is to get a leg up on a hold, that takes about half the weight off your arms.’

Chris and Gail Gursky appeared to take it easy on the rest of their holiday in Switzerland 

Chris and Gail Gursky appeared to take it easy on the rest of their holiday in Switzerland 

However, some were furious with the pilot and said he should be banned from flying.

Zoran Allen said: ‘Pilot should have crash landed IMMEDIATELY, end of story. Literally any other person would’ve slipped, fallen, and died. 

‘Passenger performed a 2 minute long dead hang with equipment and against heavy winds. It’s a miracle to say the least.’

Peter Donker said: ‘Just for your info. I know you’re happy the pilot saved your life. But the error is inexcusable. It’s like the guy offering bungee jumps but forgets to check the cord. Flying is not that hard. He had but one task: to check you were hooked in. 

‘The #1 killer of hang glider pilots is forgetting this. IMO he should have a really hard look at himself in the mirror and ask himself if he should be doing this.’ 

Mr Gursky said he was out of hospital the same afternoon with no cast. He also said he is not mad at the pilot.

‘I am past that phase,’ he said to Cross Country Magazine.

‘He did all he could and more. He is a good guy.’ 

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