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The hang-gliding community is mourning the loss of one of their own after an experienced pilot crashed into the ocean and died this weekend. Some friends say they will remember a good man who lived fully.
It is in the air that Christopher Carrillo, 44, has found peace, according to his friends. He was one with the wind and was going to plan for hours.
All of this ended on Sunday when a witness called 911 to report that he had seen a delta sailor in distress forced to land in the ocean near Diablo at 4 pm. The authorities managed to find him at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, but it was too late.
Carrillo died after the flying hang glider sank in the ocean off the Pacific coast.
San Mateo County sheriff’s deputies said witnesses would have seen the hang glider crash into the water.
The pilot flew from the glider, but could not reach the coast due to strong waves and steep coastal cliffs, according to Sheriff’s spokeswoman Rosemerry Blankswade.
A helicopter rescue team from the Coast Guard was able to locate Carrillo about an hour later, not far from where the paraglider crashed. He was unconscious and no longer breathing, Blankswade said.
The victim was taken out of the water and taken to a nearby cliff, where attempts to revive her failed. Carillo was pronounced dead at 5:29 p.m.
The San Mateo County coroner’s office identified Carrillo on Monday. He was a resident of San Francisco.
“Chris was an excellent driver and a good guy and if you needed help, he was the first to help,” said Saul Richard, another hang glider.
The hang-gliding community is a very close group and at least half a dozen members of the Feathers Hanging Gliding Club have talked about Carrillo’s talent as a pilot.
They say that the risk associated with their sport is dictated by the extent to which a pilot is willing to go.
“It’s impossible for me to even get where he died, on the devil’s slide,” Richard said. “Nobody is flying there because
A) there’s no beach to land on if something is wrong, but
B) it’s very difficult to get there.”
Carrillo had more than a decade of experience in the air. His hang-gliding buddies say that a pilot as impressive as he was, will remember who was on the ground; A generous friend who has always been there for his fellow pilots.
“I had many videos to watch for novice drivers,” said Richard. “He was just one of those guys you admire, you know, I’ve always wanted to be like him, I do not think that’s going to change that much anymore.”
The sheriff’s deputies wrote on Twitter early Sunday that Carrillo had been released earlier that day from Fort Funston in San Francisco and that “it seemed to have taken a lot of wind, taking his team too far south.”
Carrillo posted many videos of his hang-up trips on Instagram, including one two weeks ago.
The investigation into the circumstances surrounding why he had to land in the water is still ongoing.