Hang Glider Literally Had to Hang On for His Life
Florida man describes his terrifying Swiss mishap: 'I was going to hold on as long as I possibly could'
A recently shared YouTube video has been riveting scores of people online as it clearly and dramatically shows Floridian Chris Gursky’s hang-gliding drama — a drama that nearly cost him his life.
Gursky, who spoke to Fox News on Tuesday afternoon, recalled how he had to hold on for dear life in the air after realizing the pilot had failed, regrettably, to properly attach his harness before they took off for their windblown adventure.
Titled “Swiss Mishap,” the video — uploaded on Monday and now gone viral — shows the Florida man as he’s forced to clutch the glider with all the strength he had as it soared 4,000 feet in the air over a Swiss mountainside at 45 mph for almost four minutes.
Gursky later described the episode, which unfortunately occurred on his first day of his vacation in Interlaken, Switzerland, in an interview with Shepard Smith of Fox News.
He explained that he was initially confused, then frightened, with what exactly was going on: “I just glanced down, and said, ‘This is it. I am going to fall to my death.'”
Gursky courageously remained calm as he realized that although the “updraft [was] pulling us higher and higher,” he needed to focus.
“It wasn’t my time. I was going to hold on as long as I possibly could,” he continued. “Holding on for my life … Losing [my] grip the whole way down.”
The harrowing YouTube clip, which Gursky himself uploaded on Monday, already has over 3.9 million views as of Tuesday night. The video opens with a viewer discretion advisory, then proceeds to show Gursky as he transitions from puzzled hang-gliding rider to a desperate man forced to grab hold of the pants leg of the pilot beside him to avoid plunging to his death.
Gursky said he was only seconds away from completely losing his grip when he finally touched down.
Because he was hanging well below the landing gear, his feet hit the ground while the glider was going upwards of 40 mph, causing a rough and turbulent landing.
He suffered a torn bicep tendon (from having to hold on for so long) and a fractured wrist that required surgery.
The end of the video shows him in a hospital bed, along with his X-rays and a brief written description of the incident and its aftermath.
Christian Boppart, director of the Swiss Hang Gliding Association, commented on the story and said it’s being taken up by authorities. The name of the pilot is not being released.
“It wasn’t my time. I was going to hold on as long as I possibly could. Holding on for my life … Losing [my] grip the whole way down.”
“The pilot knew he made a terrible mistake, but afterward he made a good save,” said Boppart, as Fox News reported. “The first lesson is that you check before starting that everything is good, and that everybody is attached.”
He also mentioned the scarcity of Switzerland hang-gliding injuries.
When asked by Fox News’ Smith of the possibility of trying to hang glide again in the future, Gursky said valiantly, “It’s something I might still do.”
It appears he hasn’t lost his sense of humor, either.
The interview concluded with his comment, “[If I do] I’ll bring extra bungee cords with me.”
Check out the “Swiss mishap” below: