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Sunday paragliding accident leaves Columbia man with broken femur

Monday, May 13, 2013 | 7:01 p.m. CDT; updated 9:16 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 14, 2013

COLUMBIA — A Columbia man suffered a broken femur in a Sunday crash of his motorized paraglider in southern Boone County. 

The Boone County Fire Protection District responded to the crash at 9031 Tomlin Road shortly before 5:30 p.m. Sunday. The man, 43-year-old Olivier Limacher, was transported by emergency crews to University Hospital, where he was listed in fair condition Monday evening.

Tom Dresner, a powered paraglider instructor and avid pilot, said he was the one who called 911 after witnessing the accident with his students. The cause of the accident is a "riser twist," a problem related to the torque of the engine caused by the pilot applying too much throttle for too long. When this occurs, the aircraft "essentially falls out of the sky," Dresner said.

After Limacher fell from 60 feet, Dresner rushed over from about 100 yards away. The only injury Limacher received was a broken femur, he said.

"He is really lucky, falling from that height has all the elements for a potential fatality," Dresner said. "When I ran over to him, he was still conscious but he knew he was hurt." 

Limacher's accident will probably deter members of the public who are interested in paragliding but fear the danger, Dresner said. Limacher was self-taught and never took classes with a certified instructor. 

"This was a preventable accident," Dresner said. "But anything related to aviation always carries risk."

Supervising editor is Richard Webner.


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