Crash into sea sends paraglider pilot to hospital

A 67-year-ol man flying on a motorized paraglider crashed into the ocean near Jitchaku Fishing Port on Izena Island Sunday morning.

The pilot, a photographer from Yamanashi Prefecture, suffered a suspected concussion and broke his pelvis. Local firemen rescued the pilot, and a he was taken to a hospital in Urasoe by a helicopter.

According to Motobu Police, the accident seems to have occurred because the engine of the paraglider stopped for an unknown reason. The glider crashed into the sea about 50 meters from the shore. Police investigation to the cause of the accident continues.

The man came to Okinawa on June 27 with four other paraglider companions, and they started flying the following day. Sunday was reportedly the last day of their trip.

The man was using a backpack with a motor driving a large fan to power the paraglider. According to one of his companions, the victim took off from the shore about 9 a.m. and the accident occurred about 10 minutes later.

As the engine stopped in the air, the pilot prepared to land on the shore, but just before landing, he was hit by a wind gust and lost control of the glider.