San Diego

Paraglider Killed in Mid-Air Collision Was Working on Certification, Lifeguards Say

One of two men killed in a paragliding collision at the Torrey Pines Gliderport was working on his certification, a San Diego Lifeguard official said. 

Glenn Johnny Peter Bengtsson, 43, of Carlsbad and Raul Gonzalez Valerio, 61, of Laguna Hills died Saturday when their gliders collided in mid-air, the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office said.

Their gliders became entwined and both men fell around 75 feet onto the bluffs below.

Bengtsson was certified to fly on his own and Valerio was getting an advanced certification but had flown 20 to 25 times, San Diego Lifeguard Lt. Rich Stropky said.

"Apparently what happened was the student individual was heading southbound and made a turn, a hard right turn right in this area where the flag is and ended up running into the other flyer that was in the northbound direction," he said.

The two were not flying together, he said.

Fatal paragliding accidents are relatively rare, Stropsky said. The last known fatal accident in San Diego was in 2012, according to the NBC 7 news archive.

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