The case against a tandem paragliding pilot accused of causing the death of his passenger by not carrying out required safety checks concluded last week resulting in a 4 year prison sentence.
On 1st September 27-year-old Caner Güler, a mechanical engineer on holiday from Bursa, took off on a tandem paraglide from the top of Babadağ mountain near Fethiye.
His wife, 26-year-old Miray, had taken off minutes earlier for the popular 30 minute flight to the Oludeniz beach some 1,800 metres below.
Shortly after the launch, Caner Güler fell from his harness and died on the rocks 700m below.
His pilot Murat Yeşilbaçar, was reported as being arrested on landing and taken away by Jandarma for questioning.
There were claims at the time that Güler’s harness wasn’t properly attached.
Yeşilbaçar, a paragliding pilot with ten years experience, appreared at an initial court hearing in November.
At that hearing Yeşilbaçar the pilot claimed that he and Güler had gone through the routine stringent safety checks on the mountain prior to launch.
Yeşilbaçar has ten years experience as a tandem pilot and claimed Güler opened the harness himself, possibly by accident, after which he tried to hold on to his passenger but failed to do so, and Güler fell to his death.
Yeşilbaçar went on to say that as soon as he landed he ran to report the accident to the Jandarma and point the rescuers in the right direction.
The trial was adjourned and then resumed during the following months as reports were gathered.
At one of the hearings in November Caner’s widow Miray had stated:
“I am here to see justice for my husband. I cannot say much at this point just that I want to see the responsible person punished.”
Last week the trial was concluded.
The pilot, Murat Yeşilbacar, was sentenced to four years and two months for his role in the ‘accidental death’ of Caner Güler.
Oludeniz is famed for its spectacular paragliding with the famous mountain to beach flight. It also hosts an annual Air Fest at the end of October each year that attracts paragliding pilots from all over the world.
It was reported that the total number of paragliding launches from Babadağ had reached 57,000 during 2011, an increase of 3,000 on the previous year.
During 2011 year there were 7 accidents resulting in 3 deaths, and 4 people suffering broken bones.
Of the seven, six involved tandem jumps and the other one was a solo paraglider.
Between the 11 companies a total of 118 professional paraglide pilots are employed.
The 11 companies that fly from the mountain have agreed to restrict the number of flights carried out by their pilots to a ‘maximum five launches in one day’ for the 2012 season.