GENEVA — Switzerland has become an adventure sports mecca, attracting tourists from around the world who are anxious to try snowkiting, paragliding, zorbing and other pursuits. Florida resident Chris Gursky was one such tourist, but his first time hang gliding took a turn for the worse when the pilot failed to attach Gursky’s harness.
In the stunning video that Gursky posted to YouTube on Monday, entitled “Swiss Mishap,” the Florida man is seen standing next to the pilot as they prepare to launch from a 4,000-foot mountain ledge.
“Are you ready?” asked the pilot.
“Yes,” Gursky replied.
Once they take off, however, it’s obvious that Gursky isn't ready. With nothing securing him to the hang glider other than his bare hands, he was forced to precariously cling to the landing gear as the pilot looked for a safe place to land. Unfortunately, that took longer than Gursky would’ve preferred.
“My first time hang gliding turned into a near-death experience as my safety harness was never hooked to the glider,” Gursky wrote in the video’s caption. “For 2 Min. 14 seconds, I had to hang on for my life!”
The pilot clearly struggled to control the hang glider, even gaining altitude before he was able to reach a possible landing spot below. And as the seconds tick by, Gursky’s grip on the landing gear begins to fade.
Miraculously, the intrepid passenger was able to hang on long enough for the pilot to land. Once they were a safe distance from the ground, Gursky dropped the remaining few feet. And though he escaped with his life, he said he still suffered a fractured wrist and torn bicep tendon.
"While the pilot made a critical error in our pre-flight setup by not attaching me to the glider, he did all he could to get me to the ground as quickly as possible, while grabbing onto my harness and flying with one hand," Gursky wrote in the YouTube video.
According to the Associated Press, Swiss authorities plan to question the pilot. Antonello Laveglia, spokesman for the Federal Office of Civil Aviation, said the agency would interview the pilot and witnesses, then try to "reconstruct the events."
As of Wednesday morning, the video had over 5.4 million views.