A Florida man’s hang gliding ride in Switzerland turned into a “near-death experience” when the pilot forgot to strap him in for the trip — leaving him dangling from the craft hundreds of feet in the air.

Chris Gursky, who lives in North Port in the Tampa Bay area, posted a GoPro video of his wild ride .

“My first time Hang Gliding turned into a near death experience as my safety harness was never hooked to the Glider,” Gursky wrote on the YouTube account. “For 2 Min. 14 seconds I had to hang on for my life! The landing was a rough one, but I lived to tell the story.”

The video shows there was trouble immediately after takeoff when Gursky realized he was not attached to the craft. With his left hand trying to hold onto to a control bar, his right hand kept seeking something to hold onto — including the pilot.

After takeoff, the pilot tried to quickly land the craft but instead he ended up going hundreds of feet higher into the air before navigating the hang glider over a forest of trees and down the side of a mountain to a grassy field — where Gursky dropped off the glider before it landed.

“I remember looking down and thinking, this is it. I was losing grip with my right hand, that was holding onto a strap on the pilot‘s right shoulder. He was trying to make a bee line to the landing field as he knew what the situation could bring,”

“I ended up holding on bar with the left hand and the lower part of his leg with the right when we were nearing the ground. I looked down to see my feet hit first, which ripped me off at about 45 mph as it was a hot landing and I was under the landing gear.”

But Gursky said in his YouTube video that he’s not too traumatized by the experience.

“I will go hang gliding again as I did not get to enjoy my first flight.”

Roger Simmons, Content Director for Audience Engagement, is a member of the Orlando Sentinel Community Conversations Team. He can be reached at

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