SAFA ACCIDENT & INCIDENT REPORT

Initial reports are listed below.
Upon finalisation of an investigation, findings and recommendations will be published here and in the SAFA Sky Sailor magazine.
Please note: In the event of a fatality, SAFA findings will not be released until the Coroner has completed investigations and release their findings.

Date No. / Discipline State Description Recomendation
16-12-2021 1613 / PG VIC Incident Flinders Golf Course Axis Pluto 4
A low-hours PG2 pilot was flying their paraglider at Flinders Golf Course (Vic), close to terrain. As the wind strength has dropped momentarily, their harness has come in contact with vegetation, snagging it and causing PIC to make an unintended landing. No injury or damage.
Pilots are reminded that they need to give themselves a wide safety margin when flying close to terrain in light to variable wind speeds.
11-12-2021 11:30 AM 1607 / PG Southeast Qld Accident north sunshine beach sunshine coast bgd
The PIC was flying Northend flying site at Sunshine beach (Qld/S) and achieving good altitude above the south-facing ridge. The wind has started to swing SE, resulting in the south-facing ridge not creating much lift. PIC has started to lose altitude and has headed west along the south-facing ridge towards launch, staying close to the ridge and slightly tailwind. They have attempted to turn out from the hill but lost too much altitude, and have impacted a small tree, which has hit the back of their helmet and knocked it off. The PIC has suffered a nose-bleed and has some scratches on their legs. Pilots assisted in retrieving the wing of which there was no damage. After waiting on launch to make sure no residual effects from the impact were present, the pilot returned home. The Safety officer debriefed the pilot on the incident.
Northend flying site is predominately a south-facing site. It can be flown in a SE wind but needs more strength to maintain height and generally the south-facing ridge does not work well, but the bowl still does. Pilots need to monitor winds changing whilst flying and take appropriate action. If losing altitude push away from ridge and land or if enough height, try the SE facing bowl. Always fly with enough height and distance from the ridge to make a safe landing, and remember when turning with a paraglider even more altitude will be lost.
28-10-2021 10:00 AM 1567 / PG North Qld Accident Pops launch site, North of Townsville Skywalk Mescal 6
PIC was under instruction and launching from Pops, north of Townsville. They had flown from there previously and had completed several high tow flights. On this occasion they have been distracted by some trees to the left immediately after launch and have frozen. This has caused them to turn left and have failed to heed the instructor's directions to alter course to the right. They have broken the distraction but have applied a large corrective input to the right, which has almost spun them back towards the hill. They have made a heavy landing on straight legs from a height of 0.5-1 m agl, and have then dropped onto their back. They have initially indicated they were fine and have walked back up the hill to the vehicles, before being instructed by the instructor to lie down on the back seat of the vehicle, prior to transport to hospital for examination. X-rays subsequently revealed that they had sustained stable fractures of several vertebrae: L1 & L2, T6, T7 & T9.
When under instruction, avoid being distracted by obstructions to the side of the flight path, and concentrate solely on the instructor's directions. The tendency is to become fixated on the obstruction and steer towards it, counter-intuitively the opposite of the intention. If faced with a drop onto the ground, adopt the PLF (Parachute Landing Fall) position with knees bent, and prepare to roll onto the ground on impact. A drop onto ground with legs locked straight from heights as little as 1 m risks serious and potentially fatal injuries.
31-10-2021 11:00 PM 1566 / PG VIC Accident Colin's Corner - Bowman's Forest Niviuk Koyot 4
PIC was under instruction and making a landing on a training slope. They have lost their footing in the long grass on touchdown, twisting a leg and rupturing that leg's patella tendon.
When landing keep the legs bent ready to absorb impact and roll if footing is lost; long grass can hide undulations in the ground's surface. Pilots are advised to wear appropriate footwear for our activities. PIC was wearing shoes and it is uncertain if boots would have made a difference in this case, however the advice is still relevant.
30-10-2021 12:09 PM 1565 / PG NSW Accident Blackheath Ozone Swift 5
PIC was flying their paraglider from Mt. Blackheath (NSW). Conditions were described by other pilots as erratic - strong, spring-time air, with climbs in the 5 m/s range. Whilst in light lift searching for a core, their lightweight high EN-B wing has taken an asymmetric collapse of the left-wing, and immediately twisted 3 times. They have attempted to untwist the risers, but this only caused additional twists. The pilot threw their reserve and landed in a tree, 6-7 m above the ground. They utilised their tree rescue kit and made a safe self-extraction to the ground. No injury sustained, with minor damage to the wing and reserve.
Pilots are advised to consider the possibility of stronger conditions in Spring, and ensure their reserve has been repacked, as this one had. If needed, make the decision to throw the reserve early. Do not attempt to self-extract from a tree-landing unless you are carrying a well-equipped kit and trained to accomplish this; wait for assistance to arrive. This pilot had practiced this task several times previously.