Two paragliders died Saturday after they collided in mid-air and crashed into a cliff near the Torrey Pines Gliderport.
The incident happened shortly before 3 p.m. Saturday. Authorities confirmed both paragliders were men; one was was 61-years-old and the other was 43-years-old. Their names were not immediately released. Officials said one of the men was certified to fly on his own, while the other was working on his certification.
Witnesses told reporting partner 10News the paragliders collided mid-air, a chute collapsed, and they spiraled to the ground and hit the cliffs.
"I initially heard the collapse of the chute... I heard a collision, and some kind of sound, and looked over and saw two people falling from the sky," Madeline Henderson said. "It was spinning but it was like in slow motion and I could see the guy, I don't know what he was trying to do but I felt bad for them," Irene Marquez said.
An investigation is underway into the circumstances of the fatal collision.
Fatal paraglider accidents have been rare at the Torrey Pines Gliderport. According to a report in the San Diego Union Tribune, a South Carolina woman, who was an experienced glider pilot, died in 2012 when she crashed into a sheer cliff 200 feet above Black’s Beach. Prior to that, a veteran paraglider instructor plunged to his death testing a new high-performance glider in 1998. A former national champion paraglider died while testing a prototype in 1996.
Photo credit reporting partner 10News)