HKPA report number 59

Site: Other Underwater Hill, China

(***Click here for site guide***)

Date of Event: Monday 6th of April 2015

This Accident report was filed on Friday 15th of May 2015 and the last change to the report was made on Thursday 4th of June 2015 by Trevor Gribble

Injury Index = 3
( 0 =No Injuries or Minor - brief visit to Doctor)
( 1 =Significant - hospitalized or work time loss less than 48 hours)
( 2 =Temporary Disabling Injuries)
( 3 =Permanent Partial Disabling Injuries)
( 4 =Permanent Total Disability)
( 5 =Fatal injuries)


A pilot holding a Novice (PG2) Licence with 0 years of experience whist flying at Other at approximately 12-1400hrs on Monday 6th of April 2015.

The conditions at the time were reported to be Variable with a S wind blowing approximately 10-15kph. The temperature was 20-24deg C with Some Cloud and Hazy Visibility.

There were reported to be 2-5 pilots at the site.

Factors in this Accident:
Hard Landing
Tree Impact
Undershoot LZ
Unlicenced Instruction

Event Description:

Accident report:
Location : Underwater hill (China)
Date: 6/Apr/2015
Weather : mostly sunshine ,South wind 10-15km

I went to Underwater Hill with 4 trainee students (3 male, 1 female), 1 coach assistant (very experienced pilot who is very familiar with Underwater hill) and other friends for trip from 5 - 7 April, 2015.

During the stay in Underwater hill, we had few flights on the site. All these students were well trained in HK before and understood how to fly and land safely for at least 10 times or more. Before take off and landing, me and other assistant(very experienced pilot of Underwater hill) have given them clear instruction about the weather, glider, direction, flight route plan, emergency plan, they all understood it. Before the flight, I had checked all students' equipment and radio well before they took off. The site was a safe site for beginner pilots flying training in China and I have evaluated it was safe for them to fly before I let them fly there. I was on the take off site, another assistant (very experienced pilot of Underwater hill) was on the landing site for flight control. I knew the take off site and landing site was a bit distanced more than the one in Long Ke, so I specially assigned one very experienced pilot to be assistant to monitor the students on landing site and keep them safe.

During the day of 6 April, totally we had three flights launched from each student. At the first two times of flights, the students managed it very well on the take off site and landing site with no problem. They all were happy. During the take off and landing, I and other very experience pilot were on the take off site and landing site to watch and supervise the students closely for safety take off and landing. As we seen the students were performing well, we have let the students to launch the third-time flight as their first two flights were well managed and knew how to fly there and landed safely.

At the third flight, the three male students took off and landed successfully as usual. But the female student, when she was flying near to the landing site, something happened as she explained. When she was landing, she was doing figure"8" to reduce the altitude but she was a bit low when she realized it. Immediately she took a straight line to land, the side wind was strong and pushed her towards a narrow path with a tree in the middle, a lake on the left and a hill on the right. She worried if she changed her direction she would crash straight into the lake or hill. She was nervous, in order to avoid minimum danger and harm, she decided to fly forward to the tree that hoped it would reduce the injury instead of crashing forward into the lake or the hill. As I taught my students, if something happened, never go into the water or crash to the hill. If they had a choice, choose to fall on a tree rather than in water or hill to rescue themselves and minimize the injury. She did choose to fall on the tree instead of hill or water this time and made a right self-rescuing decision.

After she crashed into a tree and fell on the ground, she was injured and got some spine fractures and one tinny tree branch got into her left leg a little bit.

When accident happened, all of our activity stopped and we all immediately called ambulance to send her to hospital together in the nearest local hospital. I was with her on the ambulance on the way through till she was sent back to HK. Other students, assistant and friends were very helpful to help on the hospital delivery. On 7 April night, we had got an ambulance from HK to China to pick up the injured student and delivered her to HK hospital for continues medical treatment and operation.

Heath status: Now, she is fine after operation on 9 April, she has been taking a rest with doctor's care and treatments in hospital for 3 weeks and now she is able to walk with walking stick gently in hospital with smiles. Doctor said her expected hospital leaving date will be around 1-2weeks later in Mid-May and she will be expected to be recovered and walk better and act as normal with cares and treatments some time after.

I have visited her few times in the hospital and keep updates with her. She is feeling positive and she is recovering quickly.

My action plan to this accident: Review the facts, and interview all the student examined my teaching methods, students' qualification and skills and see how to eliminate the possibility of accidents. More training is required to provide for students back in Long Ke Bay for the basic training, glider control, ground handling and paragliding theory to strengthen their knowledge. Safety review for sites, more clear briefing for coach assistant, review student paragliding techniques and emotions. Re-evaluation of student's ability and emotion before letting them to fly again.

Apart from that, I will stop my teaching for time being, and exanimate my teaching method and safety management to eliminate possibility of accidents. At the mean time, learn and share with the other experienced instructors for better student training and safety management as well as getting feedback from other pilots and students to further improve my teaching techniques and student ability.

Signed [Instructor]

Committee Response: (if any )

27 April 2015 Due to this significant injury to the student and multiple other training accidents, this accident has been reported to the instructors licenceissuer USHPA for investigation

Committee Action: (if any )

USHPA subsequently revoked the instructors instructing Licence due to multiple student injury and concerns over qualifications