Incident Details


General Information
Title: Water Landing/Drowning
Date: 06/30/2007
Time: 2300
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

Pilot Information
Age: 47
Gender: Male
Pilot weight (without motor): 175 US Pounds
Rating: Advanced (PPG3 or Equivalent)
Experience: 50+ Hours Solo

Incident Detail Information
Type of Incident: Water Immersion
Primary Cause: Pilot Error Inflight
Contributing Distractions: Other Flying Task (Kicking Cones, Picking Things Up, etc.)
Windspeed: Not Applicable
Wind Type: Not Applicable
Thermal Conditions: None
Visibility:
Surface: Water- till
Terrain: Not Applicable
Site Elevation: 800 (feet above sea level)
Phase of Flight: Other
Purpose of Flight: Recreation

Safety Gear Used:
None
Helmet Full
Helmet Other
Protective Boots
Knee-pads
Elbow-pads
Wrist Guards
Reserve
Knife
Gloves
Strobe
Unknown

Communications: None
Damage to Pilot's Equipment: Minor (Less than 20% of New Price)
Wing: Hathor Symphony
Motor: Paramotor, ~100lbs

Injury Information
Pilot/Passenger Injury Severity: Fatal
Hosipitalization: Emergency Room

Injuries:
None
Head
Face
Neck
Chest
Back
Abdomen
Shoulder
Arm
Elbow
Forearm
Wrist
Hand
Pelvis
Thigh
Calf
Ankle
Foot
Knee
Unknown

Collateral Damage:
None
By-Stander
Other Pilot
Animal
Property
Unknown

Narrative: Pilot was doing footdrags over water, approximately 150 feet from shore. Pilot apparently misjudged the water surface and got dragged in. The pilot and motor immediately sank to the length of the lines, while the glider stayed partially inflated on the surface of the water. Pilot managed to free himself from the harness underwater, and began swimming for shore. For unknown reasons, the pilot only swam about 60 feet before going under and drowning. Bystanders attempted to save him, but were unable to. It is suspected that since the water landing was completely unexpected by the pilot, he didn't have a chance to take in a full breath of air before going down. That combined with the trauma of unbuckling the harness underwater and swimming with boots and clothing was too much, and he was unable to swim to safety. Additionally, it is unknown if the pilot was a competent swimmer. Water rescue divers recovered pilot's body at a depth of 35 feet. As he was underwater for about 40 minutes, attempts to revive him were unsuccessful. Hopefully this tragedy will be noted by anyone considering footdrags over water. ed: this event was aggravated by being at night. The result, drowning, would not have likely been different had it occured during the day.

Photo:  No photo on file.