Last Tuesday, Jon Gjerde – a native of Voss in Norway – decided to strap himself to a gigantic kite and go zipping through the air like some sort of very ugly bird. The 51-year-old is no stranger to hang gliding. He is, in fact, a world champion in the sport. But after this particular outing he’s lucky to be alive.
While participating in Norway’s Extreme Sports Week, Gjerde lost control of his glider. Wind and tremendous g-forces whipped him around high above a lake. His accident was caught by a GoPro attached to the glider, as well as a cameraman on the ground (a side-by-side composite can be seen here).
Gjerge came out relatively unscathed, thanks to his parachute, which he was able to deploy without tangling inside the wrecked glider. He did, however, change his cover image on Facebook to his bruised and bloodshot face, and posted the following message about the accident:
I am OK but still suffer from sore eyes and head-ache after serious negative G-force. after glider collaps, my harness was somewhat broken and I was sentrifuged head out. My vision failed and I struggled hard against g-force to get my rescue out.[...] I have lots of speed and get an abrupt pullout by accident. The reason for this is to high speed, and bent elbows on the bottom of the dive.
My own fear of heights continues to be entirely founded and is not soon to be reassessed. [PopMech]