31 January 2009

Tragedy of an epic day

Sadly one pilot incurred a fatal accident early in todays 6th task of the paragliding worlds. He was seen in a bad cascade hitting the vertical rocks behind the Penon peak.
The day started beautifully with a start over the Slater hill. Today the cloudbase was higher and I glided back in front of the Penon and then to the launch which was a turnpoint today. From there quite many flew into the rough thermal where the accident took place. I was there earlier and didn't have any problems. Quite opposite, at that point I was joining the leading group. Together we climbed and drifted to the next turnpoint. There we were almost at cloudbase and then glided under the clouds towards Agila. We were shooting for the Magay mountain and many managed to just overfly it. Others were a bit lower but could get around it. Unfortunately my serial wings performance was in this case just that crucial bit worse and I arrived too low to get up at the side of the hill. Hence landed in a small peach orchard.
After a nice walk got into a retrieve car that continued to pick up many others that hadn't made the glide either.
A bit later we heard the tragic news. It's sad that this so far perfect comp had its first accident on the last day before the rest day. And even more sad for all that it was a fatal one.
Ari kept his excellent form and came into goal nicely. Jouni also encountered turbulence in the Penon area and decided to land when he was low after clearing a collapse.
Tomorrow we have a much needed rest day. Hopefully we Finns can put ourselves together and all start flying as good as Ari!

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