File foto of a paraglider coming in for a landing near the base of Revelstoke Mountain Resort on Sunday

File foto of a paraglider coming in for a landing near the base of Revelstoke Mountain Resort on Sunday

Plunging paraglider escapes death after reserve chute fails

Turbulence forces paraglider to bail out at Mount Mackenzie, but his parachute fails, creating a death spiral as he disappears from view...

An Alberta paraglider needed his third and final chute to save him from plunging to death while paragliding from Revelstoke Mountain Resort on Wednesday.

The paraglider took off from Mount Mackenzie on Mar. 27, taking advantage of the warm, sunny afternoon to get airborne.

He was over the Kokanee Bowl area near the resort when turbulent winds buffeted his paraglider, putting him in serious danger.

The 26-year-old opted to unhook from the paraglider and use a parachute to safely dismount to the ground.

The backup plan went awry.

Cpl. Thomas Blakney of the Revelstoke RCMP said witnesses saw the man bail out, but his parachute didn’t deploy properly.

Last they saw him, he was spiralling out of control towards the Kokanee Bowl area as he disappeared behind a ridge. “I would imagine it would be sheer panic if your first chute didn’t open,” Blakney said.

Revelstoke RCMP commended the fast response of Revelstoke Search & Rescue, who made it to the scene by helicopter in just over an hour.

They discovered the man no worse for wear, awaiting rescue from atop a ridge.

He told searchers his main backup parachute failed, so he went to his second backup chute, which stopped his uncontrolled fall just in time.

“Revelstoke Search and Rescue workers should be commended for the swift response, locating the male and bringing him to safety,” Blakney said in a statement. “Also, if it was not for the eyewitnesses, the paraglider may have encountered further obstacles.”