Fisherman discovers dead paraglider

February 9, 2009 4:48:37 PM PST
A mystery remains in the waters off the coast of San Mateo County after the body of man was discovered still attached to a paraglider Sunday morning.

A fisherman called 911 around 10:00 a.m. when he realized he had snagged a body with his fishing tackle.

It happened off Daly City in a remote spot off Mussel Rock Park, an area popular with paragliders.

Authorities do not know when the man went paragliding and no one saw him fall in the water.

"I was just fishing, just a couple of hours to relax," said Jeff Morels of Daly City.

Instead, Morels had a traumatic morning he will never forget. He snagged a parachute with his hook and saw a body floating nearby.

"I saw the face and everything. I know I'm going to get nightmares," he told ABC7.

The body was identified as 46-year-old Rollan Kim of Palo Alto. Authorities from three different agencies had to send lifeguards, rangers and police officers into the water to get him.

"The high surf today, steep terrain with rocks made it extremely difficult to recovery this individual," explained Sgt. Thomas Hart with the Park Police.

Mussel Rock Park is a popular spot for paragliding. The pilots who go there say they all know each other, yet the regulars say they did not know Kim.

"We all feel terrible and sorry. It's amazing and it affects the sport too. You guys come out here and say it is dangerous. It's not more dangerous than riding a bike. I'll guarantee that," said pilot Ivan Martinetti.

Park police say it is rare for paragliders to have accidents out there. Authorities do not know how Kim died. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday or Tuesday.

According to the US Handglider Association, Kim received his pilot's license about one year ago.