San Francisco man dies after crashing into Pacific Ocean while hang gliding

PACIFICA, Calif. (KGO) -- A hang glider pilot crashed into the Pacific Ocean and died Sunday morning in San Mateo County.

The victim is a 45-year-old San Francisco resident. He was out with friends and according to authorities his hang glider went off course.

What was supposed to be a 6-mile flight with a friend ended in tragedy.

"They took off from Fort Funston and they were in route to Mussel Rock, he and his friend were hang gliding together," said San Mateo County sheriff's investigator Rosemerry Blankswade.

The victim's friend did not want to speak on camera, but confirmed that several people flew from Fort Funston. The victim crashed into the water 5 miles past his intended destination

"His friend tried to get in touch with him over a walkie talkie system that they use while they're hang-gliding but his friend wasn't able to get in touch with him and he didn't know what had happened," said Blankwade.

Around 4 p.m., a group of hikers called 911 after seeing the hang glider crash into the Pacific Ocean.

"It was very distressing to hear that happened and especially on Easter Sunday, too," said Christie Moua.

Emergency responders arrived 10 minutes after the call. "By the time emergency crews go to him, we found that he was already deceased and most likely had drowned in the water," said Blankwade.

Authorities believes the weather played a role in this crash, "It seems like the gusty winds of today maybe just took his hang glider too far south and maybe he didn't know where else to land," said Blankwade.

Meanwhile hikers in the area say something needs to change to avoid accidents like this one.

"Education that needs to take place to help people understand how dangerous that really is. Even when you think you are well versed in something you might not be," said Tracey Boss.

Authorities confirmed the man was found unclipped from the equipment. It is unknown if he tried to swim moments before drowning.
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