An eastern Pennsylvania man was killed yesterday in a paragliding accident in Perrysburg Township while taking his first lesson, police said.
Gerald B. Lutz, 61, of Newmanstown, Pa., took off from a field along Roachton Road east of Hull Prairie Road about 9:50 a.m. He was about 50 feet in the air when the paraglider he was riding plunged to the ground, Perrysburg Township police Lt. Jim Pellek said.
Attempts to resuscitate Mr. Lutz failed.
Police investigating the crash said Mr. Lutz's paraglider, a Mac Para Muse II, appeared new and in good condition. There were no holes in the parachute or cut lines, township police Detective Robb Gates said.
He said Mr. Lutz may have panicked when a gust of wind hit the craft. The wind speed at 10 a.m. yesterday in Toledo was about 12 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
Mr. Lutz received classroom training in paragliding, and his instructor, Bruce Brown, was one of three other people at the field. Mr. Brown was directing Mr. Lutz through headphones, Detective Gates said.
Mr. Brown owns Ohio Power Paragliding, a Bowling Green company that sells equipment and offers lessons. He declined to comment on the incident.
Powered paragliders have a small motor and propeller beneath a rectangular parachute. The pilot starts the motor, begins to run, and rises into the air. Once airborne, the pilot may drop the motor and rely entirely on wind currents to remain aloft, which Mr. Lutz did before he crashed.
Paragliders, which can cost about $7,000, are considered ultralight aircraft. Pilots do not need licenses or certification to fly them.
The Roachton Road field is a popular spot for powered paragliding.
In August, 2003, an experienced paraglider from the Dayton area was killed in a crash during an annual gathering there.