A canopy-sport pilot flying in the Wanaka area was fatally injured in a crash today.
The 40 year-old Australian man, flying a speedflying wing designed for high-speed flying close to the ground, crashed shortly after midday, suffering significant impact injuries.
The speedflying wing is distinct from paragliding but sports enthusiasts say the techniques are different, using a combination of the skills used in paragliding and sky-diving. The sport is considered to be similar in risk to base jumping and requires a high level of flying skill.
His name and other details will not be released until next of kin have been notified, but the man has been living in Wanaka. The accident has been referred to the coroner.
Wanaka police search and rescue coordinator Sgt Aaron Nicholson said the man had launched from Pub Corner on the Treble Cone skifield road, a popular area for canopy flying.
Other flyers in the area gathered at the scene, raised the alarm, and performed CPR for about 40 minutes but were unable to resuscitate him.
Sgt Nicholson said Police were notified at about 1215 and despatched a volunteer alpine cliff rescue team from LandSAR Wanaka, including an emergency doctor.
The victim was pronounced dead at the scene and the body was removed by helicopter long-line from the crash site about 200m below the access road.