'You’re...at the mercy of the wind': Hang gliders weigh in on death in Milpitas

A man was killed and a woman was critically injured this afternoon while hang gliding at Ed Levine Park in Milpitas. 

The two of them were flying tandem when something went terribly wrong.  

Santa Clara County officials have not released any information about the pair.  But the man died at the scene, and we still have no word on the woman’s condition.  

The Milpitas Fire Dept says the woman was taken to the Regional Medical Center here in San Jose. 

"Losing control, or getting too close to the hill, is probably what might have happened today. I don’t know all the details but, it’s very possible the guy was close to the hill and got pushed by the wind or something," said Alex Brozdounoff, who says he's an experienced hang glider.  

People at Ed Levine Park couldn’t help but speculate about how a man lost his life there hang gliding on Monday. The park is well-known for hang gliding, and paragliding and people have to meet certain requirements set by the county before they can embark. 

"Once you take off, you’re pretty much at the mercy of the wind. If you don’t catch it right, say you’re going sideways and you take off here, it’ll start to drift you off that way before you can even catch control," said Ted Dixon who lives nearby and has tried hang-gliding.  

John Golthy says he rides and hikes at Ed Levine Park and often sees people hang gliding.   

"It’s pretty windy. You can see the windsocks are straight out," Golthy said. "The times I’ve seen them flying, I’ve never seen them flying on a day like today."  

Milpitas Fire officials say it was a challenge reaching the downed gliders because the terrain is difficult to navigate. Monument Peak is 2,500 feet high. 

"Like the way the wind is blowing here, it’s three or four times when you go up there," Golthy said. "So, if you’re inexperienced and the wind catches you, it’s a catastrophe."