October 19, 2023 By The Canadian Press
DRAPER, Utah (AP) — A midair collision between a hang glider and paraglider in Utah killed the paraglider pilot, seriously injured his passenger and injured the pilot of the hang glider, police said Wednesday.
The two aircraft collided and crashed around 5 p.m. Tuesday near Salt Lake County Flight Park, a popular spot for non-powered aircraft to launch from a mountain slope and catch updrafts in Draper, a suburb south of Salt Lake City.
Both non-powered aircraft took off from the park and went down hard in the same area nearby, Draper Police Lt. Mike Elkins said.
Paraglider pilot Joshua Ellison, 44, died before he could be taken to a hospital. A female passenger flying tandem, whose identity was not released, was in critical condition at a hospital, Elkins said.
The hang glider pilot went to a hospital with unknown injuries, Elkins said.
A hang glider is a triangular, kite-like aircraft flown by a pilot who is suspended horizontally underneath. A paraglider is an elongated parachute designed to glide with a pilot suspended in a seated position.
Ellison was an experienced paraglider pilot. Conditions at the time were clear and mild. Few accidents have happened at the park in the past 15 years, Elkins said.
“Generally, for the amount of traffic, they are very well versed,” Elkins said. “This is very rare. Our hearts go out to that community.”