This poor fellow was alive when they got a rope to him, but the paramotor likely progressively soaked up water, the tubes filled, and he couldn’t get out of the harness and/or lines that were wrapping around him. He had the rope. He was HOLDING the rope but got pulled in.

I don’t know of a SINGLE drowning where the pilot was using an auto-inflating flotation device. Not one. We’ve solved this. Take advantage of the solution. It makes me want to put flotation on my rig in the off chance I take a collapse while over our little lake.

The news story is below.

A man piloting a paraglider drowned off North Carolina’s Outer Banks early Tuesday after he crashed into the ocean and the weight of the equipment pulled him from the grasp of rescuers, according to the Kill Devil Hills Police Department.

The name of the 52-year-old pilot was not been released, but his last known address was in Kill Devil Hills, police said. He was identified as William B. Koebernick by

Investigators say the pilot crashed 50 yards offshore near the popular Avalon Pier at about 6:55 a.m. A witness immediately called 911, “then grabbed a wet suit and two surfboards to attempt a rescue,” police said in the release.


“Kill Devil Hills officers arrived on scene and were able to lower a rescue rope to the victim. The pilot was alive but he was trapped in his harness,” the release said.

“Between the efforts of the (good) Samaritan and the officers, the pilot was temporarily stabilized. However, the weight of the paraglider’s motor, the entanglement of the harness, and the persistent wave action caused the pilot to be pulled underwater. Despite repeated efforts to save him, the pilot succumbed to drowning.”

The man was cut free and life-saving efforts were attempted with no success, the release said.

Police report the ocean had two- to four-foot swells at the time, and the water temperature was a brisk 54 degrees.

“The Department would like to thank the Samaritan on the scene who attempted to rescue the pilot,” the release said. “The bravery and selflessness of this individual cannot be overstated.”

The death comes amid a state of emergency declared during the coronavirus pandemic by coastal Dare County, which includes much of the Outer Banks. The Dare County Sheriff’s Office is preventing tourists from reaching the islands in an attempt to stop the spread of the potentially fatal virus.