Holidaymaker clings to cliff for 14 hours after paraglider crash

June 4, 2010 | by | 1 Comment

A holidaymaker was left in agony trapped on a tiny cliff ledge for 14 hours with a broken shoulder, elbow and foot after his tandem paraglider pilot crashed into the side of a mountain.

Roger Parker, 70, was on the last day of a week-long Mediterranean cruise with wife Irene, 71, when he booked the £50 paraglider flight.

But the tandem pilot launched from the top of a 6,500ft mountain in Turkey in thick fog – with visibility reduced to just metres.

The pilot lost his bearings in the fog and minutes after take off crashed into a cliff face with Roger taking the full force of the impact because he was strapped in front.

Grandfather-of-two Roger suffered a broken shoulder, elbow and foot and was stranded on a ledge above a 300ft drop overnight before a helicopter rescue team got there.

Wife Irene did not see him for 17 hours was ”frantic” with worry in the hotel below.

Former lorry driver Roger, from Patchway, Bristol, was treated in a Turkish hospital for four days before he was flown home.

He is now recovering from his injuries in hospital in Bristol.

Roger said: ”I was petrified up on that ledge. I felt like the ground was moving under me and I was going to fall and of course I was in a lot of pain.  I couldn’t stop shaking for hours.

”I am black and blue with bruises but the worst part is my shoulder and elbow. I’ve been shaken up by it all but I feel lucky to be alive.

”Some people have asked why I did it but I thought ‘you only live once’.  I was determined to try it even though I’m not normally a daredevil.”

Roger and Irene were enjoying a week-long cruise when they arrived at the popular Turkish resort of Olu Deniz.

Roger had seen tandem paragliders landing on the beach all day and decided to book a £50 flight from outside their hotel.

He and pilot Serkan Akan drove up the 6,500ft Babadag mountain before launching at around 5pm on May 23.

However, within five minutes the pilot became lost in thick fog and crashed into a cliff face, breaking Roger’s right shoulder in three places and his elbow and foot.

The pair were then stranded on a narrow ledge for 14 hours before a helicopter lifted Roger to safety and he spent four days in hospital.

Roger and Irene flew home on May 28 and he is now undergoing further operations in Frenchay Hospital, Bristol.

British doctors say that his wounds were not properly cleaned in the Turkish hospital leaving him at risk of contracting a fatal infection.

Irene revealed that just minutes after Roger launched a young Australian woman also crashed on a tandem flight run by the same company and broke her pelvis.

She added: ”We had seen the paragliders landing on the beach all day and it looked lovely and seemed like a lot of fun.

”I was going to do it myself but then I thought ‘what if I break a leg’ or land in the sea and drown.

”I was worried sick while he was up there. No one would give me any information but I knew something had happened when I saw the helicopters.

”I hadn’t seen him for 17 hours. It was a total nightmare. The pilots ignored the danger of the fog to get more passengers and more money.

”I am a bit angry with him for spoiling our holiday but really I’m just glad he’s alive. I was frantic with worry. He could so easily have died – it was horrific.”

Roger admits he signed a liability disclaimer before he took the flight.

Paraglider company boss Serkan Akan paid for the couple’s flights back to the UK.

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  1. That bruise! I hope he has recovered , how terrible. 

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