Video: Watch as Harleston paraglider’s wires get tangled in terrifying fall

The terrifying moment a Harleston man's paragliding training session went dangerously wrong.

The terrifying moment a Harleston man's paragliding training session went dangerously wrong. - Credit: Archant

An IT consultant from Harleston has shared a video of the terrifying moment his paragliding training session went dangerously wrong.

Justin Clarke, 43, who took up the thrill-seeking sport of paragliding a year ago, had leapt from the 6200 ft high Mount Babdag in Turkey for a planned emergency training session.

But while trying to carry out a controlled stall his lines become twisted and his glider wing starts to collapse.

He said as the wing falls beneath him he is just seconds away from almost certain death.

'If I had fallen into it then it would probably have been curtains because I would have just plummeted,' he said.


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'I wouldn't have been able to release my reserve parachute and that would have been it.'

Luckily for him the wing shoots out again from underneath and he is able to release the reserve, but is still grappling with the wing wires to try and bring it under control. As a result he has no option but to ditch into the sea. The aim was to gather the wing in and re-release it with about 500ft to spare and land safely on the beach

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'It is important to learn these extreme manoevres,' he said.

'Because you never know when you might need to carry it out and I want it to be automatic, not panicking about what to do. I have learned a lot from the experience. It could have got worse and I could have drifted over the beach and into the town and you don't want to hit a roof at speed.'

Mr Clarke said paragliding has taken him all over the world and was his way of relaxing and getting away from technology. He said the sport gave more control than parachuting as the 26 square metre wing enabled the flyer to gain height as well as fall by catching thermals.

'It is a real skill,' he said.

'It is a close as you can get to being a bird. It is just you with the noise of the wind and that's it. You versus the environment. I've been to Croatia and flown with vultures and you can't beat that.

'This experience has scared me a lot, but I will be going back in May to face my demons again because I think it is important to learn what to do,' he said.

'There are massive risks and I came down with quite a bump this time. But I am grateful my instructor Lee was talking on a radio to me all the time and got me into a rescue boat with about 20 seconds. I am shaken up and I lost about £1200 worth of equipment but I still love it.'

Have you had a life or death experience? Email kathryn.cross@archant.co.uk

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