Chris Gursky of Florida was excited to go hang gliding for the very first time during a vacation to Switzerland. A camera was strapped in to record the flight and the beautiful scenery.
There was only one problem. Gurksy wasn’t strapped in.
The hang gliding pilot forgot to secure Gurksy’s harness before takeoff. Gursky wrote in the subtitles of his video that flying above the mountain, hanging on to the glider with just his hands, he believed he was about to fall and die. But they made it back to the ground, and the video of Gursky’s ordeal has been viewed more than 2.6 million times.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Chris Gurksy Gripped the Bar & the Pilot’s Leg But Said He Was Close to Falling Off
The entire flight lasted a little more than two minutes. The hang glider took off from a mountain that was 4,000 feet high. Gursky told Fox News in a phone interview that he’s unsure how high they flew. He explained he could feel the wind lifting them higher.
As soon as the flight began, Gursky realized his harness was not attached to the glider. You can see him grab the instructor by the shoulder with his right hand while gripping the bar with his left. But you can see his right hand shifting as his body dangles vertically. Gursky wrote in the subtitles that the instructor tried to land the glider but struggled to control it.
At about 1:35, you can see Gursky frantically trying to grab the pilot’s leg or side after losing his grip on the shoulder. He wrote, “I think my left hand is making an imprint in the metal bar.”
Gursky wrote that even in those terrifying minutes, the thought did cross his mind that the view above the mountain was beautiful. It accompanies the less-pleasant notion that he could lose his grip at any moment and fall to his death. Gurksy said the instructor was “telling me to hold on. He told me to grab on to another strap that was on his opposite side. But I was losing grip the whole way down going into the wind and the motion.”
2. Gurksy Fractured His Wrist Upon Landing But Said ‘It Beats the Alternative’
Gurksy told Fox News that he tried to remain as calm as possible during the flight. He said, “I decided it wasn’t my time, I’m going to hang on as long as I possibly could.”
The hang gliding instructor managed to steer toward an open landing area away from the trees. In the YouTube video, Gursky slowed the footage as the glider headed toward the ground. At 2:53, you see Gursky let of the bar with his left hand.
He wrote that the glider was traveling about 45 miles per hour upon landing. Gurksy fractured his wrist in the fall and needed surgery to fix it. He also shared that he tore his left bicep tendon but “it beats the alternative.”
3. Gurksy Says He Would Go Hang Gliding Again in the Future
Chris Gurksy explained that he and the pilot walked across the field and climb two electric fences to reach the street. They headed to the hospital from there.
On the YouTube video, he wrote that he did not hold a grudge against the hang gliding instructor. “While the pilot made a critical error in our pre-flight setup by not attaching me to the glider, he did all he could to get me down as quickly as possible while grabbing on to my harness and flying with one hand.”
He also expressed a desire to go hang gliding again in the future. Gurksy wrote that he was willing to take another chance at it because he “did not get to enjoy my first flight.”
4. Chris Gursky is Married & Lives in North Port, Florida
Chris Gursky and his wife Gail apprently like to take adventurous vacations every few years. He explained that they have gone ziplining before, and flown in a hot air balloon. Gursky said he has also gone sky diving.
According to his Facebook page, Gurksy is originally from Lisle, Illinois and attended the College of DuPage. Gail was from Long Beach, New York. The couple now lives in North Port, Florida.
5. Chris Gursky Works With Cars as a Parts Manager & is a Professional Photographer
Chris Gurksy deals with car parts in his day-to-day life. He is a Parts Manager in Sarasota. He explains on his Linkedin page that he manages “three retail / wholesale parts specialists, a motorsports specialist, five internet sales specialists and five shipping-receiving warehouse personnel.”
He also released a photography book in July of 2018. The book is called “Bamboo Au Naturel” and features nude art models.