License article

Experienced hang-glider was in trouble before crash: eyewitness reports

A hang-glider died in a crash in Newcastle on Sunday afternoon after losing control and clipping a power line, police say. 

Experienced hang-glider and firefighter Adam Parer, 46, crashed into the front of a house on Memorial Drive about 3pm.

Mr Parer's friends said he had more than 15 years' experience and was regarded as one of the best hang-gliders in Newcastle.

He was undertaking "advanced aerobatic manoeuvres" with at least four other hang-gliders in the moments before his death. 

Mr Parer had survived a similar crash in 2009 while competing at Gulgong in the central tablelands. 

Upon returning to work, he told Fairfax Media he had suffered 10 broken ribs, a collapsed lung and a broken sternum when he was forced to pull his parachute after going into a spin about 1.8 kilometres (6000 feet). 


Fire and Rescue NSW Newcastle Inspector Dirk Spek said Mr Parer was scheduled to start work on Sunday afternoon.

"Everyone is in deep shock. He is a great member of team and a great bloke," Inspector Spek said. 

"It's a real tragedy."

One witness was filming Mr Parer as he performed the manoeuvres and captured the crash. 

The footage has been handed over to police. 

Another witness said it appeared Mr Parer and another hang-glider had nearly come together in the air, causing Mr Parer to pull up. 

"I thought he was doing another trick, but as he has gone vertical, he has kind of flipped over and from there he has lost control and started coming down," the witness said. 

"From about 25 metres in the air, he started yelling."

Newcastle City police Inspector Jennifer Lawton said early inquiries indicated Mr Parer either "lost control or got caught in the wind" in the moments before the crash. 

She said he clipped the electricity wires but police do not believe he was electrocuted. 

"It appears he was in trouble before he hit the wires," she said.

"The occupants were at home, but were at the rear of the house. They didn't see anything but they are understandably shaken up."

Crime scene police and detectives are investigating the cause of the crash and have spoken to more than a dozen witnesses who were either walking along Memorial Drive or sitting in nearby Bar Beach car park.