Title: Water Landing/Drowning
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Pilot weight (without motor): 175 US Pounds
Advanced (PPG3 or Equivalent)
50+ Hours Solo
Incident Detail Information
Type of Incident:
Pilot Error Inflight
Other Flying Task (Kicking Cones, Picking Things Up, etc.)
Site Elevation: 800 (feet above sea level)
Phase of Flight:
Purpose of Flight:
Safety Gear Used:
Damage to Pilot's Equipment:
Minor (Less than 20% of New Price)
Wing: Hathor Symphony
Motor: Paramotor, ~100lbs
Pilot/Passenger Injury Severity:
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.
No photo on file.