Cape Town - “It sounded like a truck hitting another vehicle.”
That is how traumatised house painter Shaun Farrow described the impact when a 50-year-old German tourist flying a paraglider smashed into an outside wall and gate of a house in Fresnaye on Thursday.
Tourist Frank Till, 50, survived the impact, but later died of his injuries, despite the best efforts of paramedics who arrived at the scene only a few minutes after the accident.
Till and other flyers jumped from the lower launch site on Lion’s Head yesterday afternoon and the aim was to land on open ground close to the Sea Point promenade.
But Till experienced severe turbulence, which forced him off course.
This morning, a still shocked Farrow described how he and his two colleagues saw the paraglider fleetingly as he soared overhead before Till hit the wall and gate.
“I think his chute was tangled and out of control. His head hit the wall and his body went into the gate below, slamming it open,” Farrow said.
“We were painting the house across the street and we ran over immediately to see if we could help. He was still alive at that stage and he was holding his hand over his nose, but he was turning blue.
“I suggested we should put something under his head and cut the cords of the chute that were tangled around him, but other people said we should not touch him.”
Farrow said the flyer must have come in at a speed of between 40 and 50km/h.
“The paramedics were at the scene very quickly. They treated him intensively and seemed to try to clear his nose and mouth and, initially, his colour seemed to improve.
“They found his smashed cellphone. I offered to put the sim card in my phone and try to find numbers, but it showed up nothing when I did so.”
Farrow said the incident had affected him badly.
“This morning I came here; I told my girlfriend I did not want to walk past this place again. It is so sad. Imagine, they had to tell his family he was dead and that while he was meant to have fun on holiday.”