Paragliding Tragedy Claims 2 Lives

2 men killed after in-air collision above Torrey Pines, Calif.
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2019 1:02 PM CDT
2 Paragliders Die After Crashing Into Each Other, Cliff
Paragliders are seen above Lake Geneva in Villeneuve, Switzerland, on Aug. 20, 2017.   (Valentin Flauraud/Keystone via AP)

A man from Orange County, Calif., and another from San Diego met a tragic fate after they crashed while paragliding over Torrey Pines on Saturday. The San Diego Tribune reports the two men—identified as 61-year-old Raul Gonzalez Valerio and 43-year-old Glenn Johnny Peter Bengtsson, respectively, per KNSD—were in the air shortly before 3pm when Valerio made a sudden turn and slammed into Bengtsson. Their harness lines became tangled, and they both plunged 75 feet, right into the side of a cliff. Lifeguard Rick Stropky tells the Tribune that Valerio had two dozen glides under his belt and was working toward his certification. Bengtsson was already certified.

"I heard a collision, and some kind of sound, and looked over and saw two people falling from the sky," witness Madeline Henderson tells KGTV. Another witness, Ryan Bloum, tells the Tribune that weather conditions were fine for paragliding, although it's known to be a spot for intermediate gliders or higher, not beginners. "It's a sad day," Bloum says. "The paraglider community is so small." Authorities aren't yet sure if the crash itself killed the men, or if it was the impact when they hit the cliff. The bodies of the men—who were not flying together—were recovered by a joint effort of local lifeguards, medics, and firefighters with the help of a rescue helicopter. An investigation is ongoing. (Read more Torrey Pines stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.