Hang-gliding passenger holds on for dear life after pilot forgets to attach harness

NORTH PORT, Fla. (WSVN) — Warning: this video will likely make you anxious.

A Florida man decided to take his first-ever hang-gliding ride while on vacation in Switzerland. But the leisurely excursion soon turned terrifying for Chris Gursky.

Video from a mounted camera shows Gursky next to his instructor as they take off down the side of a mountain. Within seconds, Gursky realized the pilot never hooked his safety harness to the hang glider, so he grasps onto the glider and the instructor as they soared hundreds of feet in the air.

“I was slipping slowly,” Gursky told Fox 13. “My left hand gripped on to that bar and I wasn’t letting go.”

They were airborne for more than two minutes as Gursky held on for dear life.

“Time stood still, I was in survival mode,” he said. “At one point I looked down and I said, ‘I’m going to fall to my death. I’m dead.’”

The pilot feverishly worked to get them back on the ground, and not a moment too soon, Gursky said.

“When my feet hit [the ground] I don’t think I could’ve made it another five or six seconds. My grip was getting to my fingertips,” he recalled.

He suffered a broken wrist and needed surgery after the ordeal, getting a titanium plate and seven screws.

Gursky said while the pilot did make the error in the pre-flight set up, he did all he could to get them back on the ground as quickly as possible.

And though his first hang-gliding experience was terrifying, he says he plans on trying again — perhaps since he didn’t get to enjoy the view the first time!

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