Adam Parer killed in Bar Beach hang-glider crash: video

VIDEO of a crash that killed an experienced hang-glider at Bar Beach on Sunday shows the man trying to avoid a mid-air collision with another pilot before spinning out of control.

Witnesses say well-known Fire and Rescue NSW firefighter and internationally renowned hang-glider Adam Parer, 46, may have been trying to save the life of another hang-glider when he lost control and crashed into a home in Memorial Drive about 3pm. 

Video of the incident, provided to police and seen by the Newcastle Herald, shows Mr Parer performing a number of difficult  manoeuvres over Strzelecki Lookout, Susan Gilmore Beach and the Bar Beach car park before he appears to swerve to avoid  another hang-glider.

A NSW Police helicopter has attended the scene on Monday to take photographs for the coroner.

The Sunday afternoon accident was witnessed by dozens of people who enjoying the weather, walking along the coast or watching from the car park as half a dozen hang-gliders hovered overhead.

Troy Ravel and his wife were among the crowd.

‘‘There were a lot of hang-gliders out, [Mr Parer] was doing some amazing moves, stuff I’ve never seen before, he was doing 360s, so I got my iPhone out and I started filming it,’’ Mr Ravel said.

‘‘I was filming him going into a 360 and he looked like he was about to hit another hang-glider.

‘‘He has pulled up from that – it looked like he pulled up to save the collision – and then he went vertical and it looked like the wind got him and it was taking him away from the beach and towards the houses.

‘‘Then he started flipping over and over again pretty quickly and the bar went out of his hands and as soon as that happened he lost all control, he was free falling essentially. He hit the power line on the way through before he went into the property.’’

Mr Ravel said he began running towards Mr Parer before he hit the ground and was first on the scene.

Mr Parer landed in the front courtyard of a home and was killed instantly.

‘‘To me he looked like he was saving somebody else’s life,’’ Mr Ravel said. ‘‘It could have been a mid-air collision between two hang-gliders and it could have been twice as bad, but I think he probably put himself in a situation like that to try and save someone else’s life.’’ 

Another witness, David Inwood, gave an almost  identical account of the crash. 

‘‘I reckon he has done that move to avoid a collision,’’ he said.

‘‘It could have been much worse.’’

Mr Parer had survived a similar incident in 2009 while competing at Gulgong. 

After returning to work at Hamilton Fire Station, Mr Parer recounted to the Herald how he had been forced to pull his parachute after going into a spin at 6000 feet.

He suffered 10 broken ribs, a collapsed lung and his sternum was broken in three places.

Fire and Rescue NSW Newcastle Inspector Dirk Spek said Mr Parer had been scheduled to start his shift on Sunday  afternoon.

‘‘Everyone is in deep shock, he is a great member of our team and a great bloke,’’ Inspector Spek said. ‘‘It’s a real tragedy.’’ 

Lifelong friend and 1991 world longboard champion Martin McMillan paid tribute to a man he said was ‘‘internationally acclaimed in his sport’’ and a ‘‘young wizard’’.  

‘‘Adam was proficient not only in hang-gliding, he was a pilot, he was a genius surfer, he studied ballet, he was a black belt martial artist, he was well-rounded,’’ Mr McMillan said. 

‘‘It was uncharacteristic for Adam to come apart in this way because of that fact. He knew a lot and he was always streets ahead of people in what he did and what he professed.

‘‘He was a beautiful guy. Like a lot of those people who strive and push the envelope, Adam was a perfectionist.’’

A friend and fellow Newcastle Hang Gliding Club member was driving along Memorial Drive towards the Strzelecki launch site when he saw Mr Parer get in trouble. ‘‘He had a lot of experience and was doing something very dangerous and he knew the dangers,’’ he said.

‘‘He was doing an advanced aerobatic manoeuvre; he was a very experienced pilot. It was his passion, he was a really great bloke.’’

Newcastle City police Inspector Jennifer Lawton said early indications were Mr Parer either ‘‘lost control or got caught in the wind’’ in the moments before the crash.

She said he clipped the electricity wires, but police do not believe he was electrocuted. 

‘‘It appears he was in trouble before he hit the wires,’’ she said.

POLICE say a hang-glider who died in a crash at Bar Beach on Sunday afternoon may have gotten into trouble in the air before losing control and clipping a power line. 

The man, 46, was killed instantly when he crashed into the front of a house on Memorial Drive about 3pm.

Friends of the man described him as an experienced pilot and witnesses said they saw him undertaking advanced aerobatics in the moments before the crash. 

One witness was filming the man as he performed the manoeuvres and captured the subsequent crash. 

The footage has been handed over to police. 

Newcastle City police Inspector Jennifer Lawton said early inquiries indicate the man either ‘‘lost control or got caught in the wind’’ in the moments before the crash. 

She said he clipped the electricity wires but police do not believe he was electrocuted. 

‘‘It appears he was in trouble before he hit the wires,’’ she said.

‘‘The occupants were at home, but were at the rear of the house. They didn’t see anything but they are understandably shaken up.’’

Crime scene police and detectives are investigating the cause of the crash and have spoken with more than a dozen witnesses who were either walking along Memorial Drive or sitting in nearby Bar Beach car park. 

Police said they were still working on notifying the man’s next of kin. 

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. 


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