Two Chamonix-based parapente instructors have been called to answer questions following tandem paragliding flights that both ended up with the client being injured.
Both incidences occurred in the summer of 2010 and the case revolves around whether the weather conditions were suitable for flying on that day.
Despite the cloud formations, both instructors had decided to go ahead with their pre-booked tandem flights.
The court heard that in one case the novice passenger sat down too quickly after take off, which altered the trajectory of the paraglider and they headed into the clouds.
In the second case, the instructor recounted how he went to take off in the ‘window’ of clear weather, and turbulence caused the wing to fold in a little and, again, head the paraglider into the clouds.
In both cases, the flights ended badly with very rough landings, injuring both clients, who, the court hear, have not been able to go back to work since.
The prosector commented on the lack of judgement by the two instructors, especially when it came to considering their clients’ safety and made a call for parapente businesses to be become more aware of these sort of cases when it comes to flying tandem.
He recommended fines of between 1500 and 2000 euros in both cases.
Defence lawyers for both instructors counter-claimed that the instructors had only taken the decision to fly after careful consideration and that there had been no deliberate violation of safety rules for tandem flights.
The court will convene again on the 5th January 2012 at 14:00 for the decision.
A paraglider pilot had a lucky escape, spending the night in a crevasse at 4600m after crash landing on Mont Blanc.
He launched his parapente at around 5.30pm. Witnesses watched his takeoff only to see him spiral out of control and crash land into the north face of the glacier.
Rescue services were unable to find him on Friday evening and had to abandon their search until Saturday morning.
Rescue services thought they were recovering a dead body, but the man was still alive, but extremely hypothermic with a body temperature of just 26°.
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