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Northern NSW : Rescue - Spring 2014
Fabian Norrie described the day as a “pretty blowy” Saturday in late September 2013 when he was preparing for take-off on Mt Borah near Manilla. He was strapped into his hang glider with the wind blowing between 16 and 19 knots, north-west, straight into his face. Fabian recalls that he was distracted by some issues playing on his mind. ‘You have got to have a clear conscience when you’re getting ready to take-off. I feel so free in the air, that’s why I love flying. But you have to be in the right mind frame to get there,’ he said. He remembers looking at the ground as he ran forward for the take-off, his feet powerfully kicking off. But he was too far from the edge. The wind caught under his glider and reefed it off his shoulders. With no body weight driving through the bar, the powerful wind tipped up the left side of the glider causing the right side to dip out of control. In a split second Fabian was thrown back onto the landing zone, crashing heavily on his left side. Still harnessed in, he was dragged along the ground more than a dozen meters toward the tree line. His two teenage daughters saw the crash and rushed to his side. Falling in and out of consciousness, Fabian tried to remove himself from his harness and became acutely aware that he was badly injured. He vaguely remembers the ambulance arriving shortly before the Rescue Helicopter picked him up and airlifted him to Tamworth Base Hospital, where he was treated for a broken left leg and left arm, a dislocated left shoulder, a broken pelvis and cracked ribs. Fabian spent the next six weeks in hospital. He was transferred to Quirindi Hospital after several weeks in Tamworth to continue his rehabilitation. ‘ I have a lot of people to thank; the ambulance officers and helicopter crews, and everyone else who helped me.’ ‘W hen I crashed it was purely pilot error,’ he said. ‘ We all make mistakes and I’ve learnt from it.’ It didn’t take long once he recovered for the urge to take to the skies to return, much to his daughters’ dismay. ‘You can’t let it beat you, you have to get up and go again. I beat the fear in my first flight after the accident. I ran, I looked straight ahead - I jumped and I flew,’ he said. Fabian is classified as an intermediate pilot. He has more than 100 flying hours to his credit. He is also a self-confessed adrenalin junkie. Almost 12 months on and Fabian is attempting to obtain an ultralight aircraft license. He admits his fiancée and daughters are none too keen on the idea - but he has faith. ‘I think I have used a few of my nine lives, but I believe I’m still here for a reason.’ CoverStory Joe hits nail on the head Born to fly Fabian Norrie with his hang glider 3 Rescue Magazine SPRING 2014
Rescue - Summer 2014
Winter 2014 redo