Florida man describes terrifying hang glider mishap over Switzerland, hanging on for dear life

Chris Gursky, a Florida man vacationing in Europe, spoke to Fox News on Tuesday afternoon about his terrifying hang-gliding incident: hanging onto a glider with his bare hands for almost four minutes, he flew over a picturesque Swiss landscape at 4,000 feet at 45 mph, nearly falling dozens of yards to the ground because his harness wasn’t properly attached.

“I just glanced down, and said this is it: I am going to fall to my death,” he said on “Shepard Smith Reporting.” “It wasn’t my time, I was going to hold on as long as I possibly could.”

He was confused as to what was going on initially with the takeoff: “Holding on for my life … Losing grip the whole way down.”

He said he remained calm and focused during the whole ordeal, even though the “up draft (was) pulling us higher and higher.”

He told Shepard Smith he may go again, but this time will ensure he is properly attached.

The incident, as Fox News previously reported, unfolded on the first day of Gursky’s recent trip abroad to Interlaken, footage which he titled, “Swiss Mishap,” and shared to YouTube Monday. The nail-biting clip since has gone viral: it drew more than 2 million views on YouTube by Tuesday afternoon.

The video edit started with a written introduction and then zooms in on the two men, with a note that the passenger’s harness wasn’t attached. After a countdown and running to a takeoff, the passenger was dangling to the pilot’s left, at times clinging to the bar or to the pilot’s clothes. The hang glider swayed but the pilot finally recovered control, sometimes hoisting up the dangling passenger over the tree line with mountains and a lake in the background.


Toward the end of the nearly four-minute video, the passenger ejected over a grass field and the pilot landed. The caption said the passenger suffered a fractured wrist that required surgery and showed a photo of a man in a hospital bed, and an X-ray.

Christian Boppart, director of the Swiss Hang Gliding Association, said he knew who the pilot was but wanted to respect his privacy as the matter is taken up by authorities.

“The pilot knew he made a terrible mistake, but afterward he made a good save,” Boppart said. “The first lesson is that you check before starting that everything is good, and that everybody is attached.”


Boppart said serious injuries from hand gliding in Switzerland were rare.

Switzerland draws millions of tourists each for its bucolic Alpine vistas, outdoor activities and other attractions.

Fox News’ Janine Puhak and The Associated Press contributed to this report.