Home Uncategorized Full details of rugby star Greig Oliver’s paraglider crash death revealed: Former...

Full details of rugby star Greig Oliver’s paraglider crash death revealed: Former Scottish international is seen seconds from disaster above Cape Town when he ‘screamed as pilot performed stunts’… then plunged into sea

7
0


Former rugby international Greig Oliver was killed in a horrific paragliding crash by a pilot who showed a ‘total disregard’ for his passengers safety, an official report said.

The damning Air Accident Investigation into the South African flier said he put Oliver through a series of quick dynamic acrobatic turns the canopy was not certified for.

The 22-year-old pilot’s Go Pro camera captured the father-of-two who was in Cape Town to watch his son play rugby for Ireland U-20’s screaming out: ‘Jesus!’

Just moments before the terrified former Scotland scrum half – said to be ‘nervous and tense’ before take-off – yelled out in panic the pilot quipped: ‘It’s going to get crazy!’

He then took the Duet Two paraglider through a series of high speed acrobatic ‘wing overs’ it had never been designed to carry out as it spiralled downwards quickly.

Moments later, the show-off pilot who was assessed to have not been watching where he was going slammed his paraglider into another glider collapsing the canopy.

Father-of-two Greig Oliver (pictured, left) was in Cape Town to watch his son (pictured, right) play rugby for Ireland U-20's

Father-of-two Greig Oliver (pictured, left) was in Cape Town to watch his son (pictured, right) play rugby for Ireland U-20’s

Three paragliders set off on the fateful day last July, though the third one was not involved in the accident, according to the report (pictured)

Three paragliders set off on the fateful day last July, though the third one was not involved in the accident, according to the report (pictured) 

Oliver, 58, and the pilot plunged from 250 metres up towards the Atlantic Ocean below, after the pilot deployed the reserve parachute

Oliver, 58, and the pilot plunged from 250 metres up towards the Atlantic Ocean below, after the pilot deployed the reserve parachute

Oliver died after his pilot left him at the crash site (pictured)

Oliver died after his pilot left him at the crash site (pictured) 

A second paraglider crashed into the one Oliver was in, wrapping its occupants with wing fabric and suspension lines

A second paraglider crashed into the one Oliver was in, wrapping its occupants with wing fabric and suspension lines

Oliver, 58, and the pilot plunged from 250 metres up towards the Atlantic Ocean below as the nylon wing ripped open and a number of vital rigging lines were severed.

The report said the instructor deployed the emergency parachute which inflated before they hit the water and released his own harness and swam himself back to safety.

He left stricken Oliver trapped in his harness unable to free himself and swamped with the weight of the chute and rigging being washed over his body pushing him under.

As the pilot made safely to Rocklands Beach Oliver was trapped helplessly strapped into his seat and harness, being swept towards rocks where he became wedged.

The 30-page report, which was just recently published, into the avoidable accident last July at Sea Point promenade revealed Oliver was put in such a position to make the crash ‘unsurvivable’.

It was not until the NSRI lifeboat arrived at the scene that swimmers were deployed and were able to release the lifeless rugby legend from his harness and straps.

The former top player and coach had been trapped below the water line when he was retrieved in the freezing Atlantic waters buffeted by a heavy swell and 7ft waves.

The pair had crash landed 114m from shore and the collision took place at 4.24pm in perfect flying conditions 12 minutes into what should have been a 15m joy-ride.

Oliver was lifted onto rocks and CPR was carried out but it was clear that he was past saving and he was declared dead at the scene and his body taken away by police.

The 30-page report, which was just recently published, into the avoidable accident last July at Sea Point promenade revealed Oliver was put in such a position to make the crash 'unsurvivable'

The 30-page report, which was just recently published, into the avoidable accident last July at Sea Point promenade revealed Oliver was put in such a position to make the crash ‘unsurvivable’

Oliver was trapped in his harness, unable to free himself and swamped with the weight of the chute and rigging

Oliver was trapped in his harness, unable to free himself and swamped with the weight of the chute and rigging

The small print points out that when taking part there is a risk of serious injury or death

The small print points out that when taking part there is a risk of serious injury or death

The pair had crash landed 114m from shore and the collision took place at 4.24pm in perfect flying conditions 12 minutes into what should have been a 15m joy-ride

The pair had crash landed 114m from shore and the collision took place at 4.24pm in perfect flying conditions 12 minutes into what should have been a 15m joy-ride

Shockingly despite the tragedy happening over eight months ago the South African authorities have been unable to provide post mortem or toxicology results on Oliver.

It means the actual cause of death remains officially unknown leading the investigation to conclude themselves that Oliver was fatally injured during the accident sequence.

If the post mortem results from the accident in July last year become available and reveal a different cause of death the investigation may have to be reopened.

Oliver was the elite performance officer at Irish club Munster and was in Cape Town to support son Jack, 20, playing for Ireland at the World Rugby U20 Championship.

The tenacious retired scrum half had played in two Rugby World Cups for Scotland before moving into coaching first in Scotland and then moving to Ireland in 2007.

On July 3 last year Oliver and other rugby parents who had flown out to support their sons had decided on a dare-devil trip to Cape Town to paraglide off Signal Hill.

The 15-minute flight costing £75 each was due to see them take off in the afternoon in tandem harnesses strapped to a pilot and land on scenic Sea Point promenade.

But disaster struck as three paragliders that had taken off from the 1,148 feet summit of Signal Hill in light 3 knot winds were seen by a cyclist nearing the landing zone.

He said Oliver’s paraglider began doing extreme ‘wing overs’ spiralling downwards fast with the bodies of the pilot and his passenger spinning higher than the wing.

The witness saw it strike a second paraglider from behind and saw the wing deflate and the reserve chute deploy and called the NSRI as they crashed into the sea.

Fortunately the impacted paraglider being flown by a veteran 62-year-old pilot was able to continue and landed as planned outside The Winchester Mansions hotel.

The report continued: ‘The student pilot was an Irish tourist in the country supporting his son was representing Ireland in the Under 20 Rugby World Cup in Cape Town.

The 15-minute flight cost each of the riders £75

The 15-minute flight cost each of the riders £75

'The flight instructor unclipped himself from the seat harness and swam to the shore. However the student was caught between the rocks and could not free himself', the report read

‘The flight instructor unclipped himself from the seat harness and swam to the shore. However the student was caught between the rocks and could not free himself’, the report read

Oliver was lifted onto rocks and CPR was carried out but it was clear that he was past saving

Oliver was lifted onto rocks and CPR was carried out but it was clear that he was past saving

‘The flight instructor had a 360-degree portable Go-Pro digital camera that captured the take off-and the sequence of events leading up to the accident after take-off.

‘The memory card was confiscated by police for air accident investigators to analyse.

‘Paraglider one (Oliver’s tandem) is observed performing what are referred to as ‘wing overs’ exceeding a bank angle of 60 degrees so the occupants are above the wing.

‘This constitutes an acrobatic/aerobatic manoeuvre that a Duet Pro paraglider is not designed to perform and it then balloons in an exit climbing towards Paraglider 2.

‘Paraglider 1’s wing impacts the occupants of Paraglider 2 from behind and the occupants of Paraglider 2 are momentarily wrapped in the fabric of Paraglider 1.

‘Paraglider 1’s wing fabric tears and separates it from the occupants of Paraglider 2. Consequently Paraglider 1’s wing deflates and it could no longer fly or sustain lift.

‘The reserve parachute is then deployed prior to impact with the water.

‘The manoeuvres performed by the flight instructor of Paraglider 1 were not planned, reduced separation between paragliders, and were deemed reckless and unsafe.’

Damningly the report says that when the paraglider impacted the water both the pilot and passenger were still harnessed into their seats but the pilot freed just himself.

It continues: ‘There was no evidence of the instructor retracting the wing or rescuing the student pilot or assisting him to unclip or release his seat safety buckle.

‘The flight instructor unclipped himself from the seat harness and swam to the shore. However the student was caught between the rocks and could not free himself.

‘Additionally he was not in possession of a hook knife that would have enabled him to cut himself free from the suspension lines and wing fabric and he remained trapped.

Oliver was one of several people who took off that day

Oliver was one of several people who took off that day 

His parachute was knotted and tangled when it crashed into the sea

His parachute was knotted and tangled when it crashed into the sea 

‘He was declared fatally injured at the accident scene.

‘There is no logical explanation as to why Paraglider 1 flight instructor switched from a normal flight and opted to perform aerobatic manoeuvres during an introduction flight.

‘The manoeuvres were unnecessary and unsafe and the flight instructor lost control of the paraglider and it crashed into the ocean and the student was fatally injured.

‘Paraglider1 flight instructor displayed a total disregard for the safe operation of a paraglider and displayed poor airmanship and did not adhere to procedures’ it said.

The report was issued by the Accident and Incident Investigation Division of the SA Civil Aviation Authority and was published yesterday 8 months after the crash.

NSRI lifeboat spokesman Clive Lambinon said at the time: ‘Despite extensive CPR efforts the victim was sadly declared deceased by the paramedics at the scene.

‘The body of the man was recovered to the shore and taken into the care of the police and government health forensic pathology services to establish cause of death’.

Oliver was born in Scotland and played his rugby there and then moved into coaching.

He moved to Ireland with his family for work in 2007 and in 2011 became the elite performance officer at Munster and saw his son Jack make the Under 20 Irish team.

He flew out to Cape Town with wife Fiona in June last year to watch scrum-half son Jack win his first cap for Ireland but was tragically killed before the quarter finals.

Distraught Jack, 20, was unable to continue with the squad and flew home with his mother as his father’s body was repatriated for the funeral in Limerick, Ireland.

The Irish Under 20’s beat Fiji in the quarters and South Africa in the semi and Jack sent a message of support to the team for the final v France but sadly they lost.

Tributes poured in for Oliver who was born in Hawick, Scotland, and played for Hawick RFC and was capped by his country three times and played in two World Cups.

The death of Oliver was the first ever in tandem paragliding off Signal Hill and Lions Head where six companies organise the jumps in good weather down to Sea Point

The death of Oliver was the first ever in tandem paragliding off Signal Hill and Lions Head where six companies organise the jumps in good weather down to Sea Point

The short flight gives tandem passengers perfect views across Cape Town and of Table Mountain and across to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was jailed

The short flight gives tandem passengers perfect views across Cape Town and of Table Mountain and across to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was jailed

On retirement he ran the Scottish Rugby Academy for 13 years and was head coach of Scotland Under 20’s and coached Hawick RFC to back to back Premiership titles.

In 2007 he moved to his wife Fiona’s home town of Limerick and was on the staff of local club Garryowen RFC until becoming elite performance officer at Munster RFC.

He also helped coach the Ireland Under 20’s team his son Jack became a part of.

IRFU chief executive Kevin Potts said: ‘Greig was hugely popular member of staff and played a key role in the development of many young players while at Munster Rugby.

‘The news was an unspeakable tragedy and our thoughts are with Greig’s wife Fiona and children Jack and Ciara and all his friends and colleagues. May he rest in peace’

Munster Rugby CEO Ian Flanagan said: ‘We are all in a state of shock following Greig’s tragic passing in South Africa. He was a great colleague and friend to many.

‘Greig made his presence felt each day, he was always there to provide a helping hand, and was a hugely popular character with his light-hearted sense of humour.

‘He was passionate about helping young players be the best they could on and off the pitch and he will be dearly missed across the Munster and Irish Rugby community’.

The death of Oliver was the first ever in tandem paragliding off Signal Hill and Lions Head where six companies organise the jumps in good weather down to Sea Point.

The short flight gives tandem passengers perfect views across Cape Town and of Table Mountain and across to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was jailed.

The Signal Hill adrenalin flights are described on paragliding websites as a ‘bucket list’ activity and the pilots take tourists off the top all year-round weather permitting.

Rocklands Beach can be notoriously dangerous when in heavy surf and in 2019 four teenagers were swept to their deaths off the rocks while on a church group holiday.

The day after Mr Oliver was drowned local estate agent and married mother-of-two Laureen Leps, 49, was swept off the rocks and rescued but died later in hospital.The day after she was killed a man in his twenties fell off the rocks at almost the same spot as the woman and was sucked out in a rip tide to be later washed up dead.

The three deaths in 48 hours during the full moon spring tides shocked Cape Town and superstitious locals claimed the beach was cursed and blamed ‘Sea Devils’.

Since 2020 three paragliders flying solo off Lion’s Head mountain which adjoins Signal Hill but is higher have been killed but there have been no tandem deaths till Oliver.

The at-fault paraglider pilot had 380 hours of flight time on the paraglider and was properly licenced and first aid qualified but it is not known if he is still employed.

Paragliders working for six companies who run the pleasure flights at the Signal Hill take-off zone overlooking Cape Town refused to comment when asked his identity.

The South African Civil Aviation Authority in light of the report can now decide whether to suspend or revoke the pilots licence but legal action is a civil or criminal matter.

The South African Police said they will now review the accident report and decide if an inquest will be held when they have the results from the back log of post mortems.

It is understood the tandem pilot involved has taken on a legal team as there is an expectation of litigation and that he has been advised by lawyers not to comment.

Louis Stanford who is chairman of the South African Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association said: ‘We have only just got the report and need time to assess it.

‘What happened was a tragedy and it is clear the pilot should not have flown in the manner he did but we will now call an official meeting and discuss this in detail.

‘With regard to civil or criminal charges or litigation that is not a matter for us and I would suspect those decisions would come after an inquest held by a coroner.

The South African Police said they will now review the accident report and decide if an inquest will be held

The South African Police said they will now review the accident report and decide if an inquest will be held

Oliver died at the age of 58 in South Africa

Oliver died at the age of 58 in South Africa 

‘Hook knives are now carried by all instructor pilots and passenger pilots since the accident and we are looking at a number of new safety recommendations’ he said. 

An experienced paraglider flying that day added: ‘It is very difficult to assess what happened in the water as you are not talking about crash landing into calm water.

‘The waves were hectic with a 6 to 8-foot swell and the water was icy cold and you are being battered and exhaustion hits in very quickly and it is a very difficult situation.

‘It is easy to imagine how you would want to act in that situation in a perfect world and what happened can be interpreted in many different ways but the surf was so rough.

‘Both men would have been completely pounded and from going through a mid-air impact, a collapsing chute and using a reserve, and crash landing it was hectic.

‘What unfortunately is clear is the pilot who collided with a colleague was not aware of exactly where the other paraglider was and that is where the fault lies’ he said.

Oliver had a funeral mass watched over by wife Fiona and son Jack, 20, and daughter Ciara, 19, and masses of rugby legends past and present in Limerick, S Ireland.

His first ever Scottish international shirt and cap along with his coaching whistle and coaching whistle were on the coffin which was then taken for a private cremation.



Source link

Previous articleFrozen Empire Proves The Franchise Has Limited Box Office Potential
Next articleMoment container ship appears to lose power twice seconds BEFORE it veers into Baltimore’s Key Bridge triggering collapse that sent cars and construction workers into the freezing river as rescuers scramble to save ‘multiple’ submerged cars

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here