NZ Herald report- “A coroner’s inquest into the death of two men during a commercial hang gliding flight reveals widespread problems within the industry. Geraldo Bean and Andrew Scotland died in Queenstown in March 2009 when their hang glider failed to keep them in flight. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) told the inquest the pilot, Mr Bean, flew the glider faster than it could handle safely, according to Radio New Zealand.”
Tragic that two men died, but then there are always going to be risks in life, and if you chose to go hang gliding, or mountain climbing, or base jumping, those risks are increased. The men were adults, and made a conscious and considered decision to fly the aircraft, and take on the risks such an event would incur. As everybody does who decides to participate in an adventure sport.
According to the CAA, the men could have been saved if they had a speedometer installed, informing them of their speed. CAA inspector Colin Grounsell said this was not an isolated incident. Coroner David Crerar said he is likely to put forward a report with far reaching consequences for the wider industry. “
Speedometers on hang gliders? I guess its pretty hard to be a Coroner and hold an inquest into a death, and discover the reason for that death might be something easily fixed, but they seem to be intent on removing all risk from life without regard to the practicalities. Another Coroner recently recommended that farmers should be forced to wear full face helmets when driving their quad bikes. The farmer’s family rejected this suggestion as impractical in the day to day operation of a farm. I would agree with the family.
We have to start handing back responsibility for risks to individuals. The perception that the state is responsible for the prevention of every risk is one that carries far too many negatives and too many impracticalities for it ever to be a reality. And Coroners need to start understanding this. Every time the state assumes responsibility for any part of an individual’s life, it undermines the innate ability of individuals to care for themselves. Welfare traps people in a destructive cycle of dependency. Likewise, if people start thinking that they can do anything because its risk free due to regulation by the state, they’ll be led astray. They’ll let their guard down and in fact become more susceptible to accident.
Coroners seem to have the power to ask for all kinds of changes to regulations, and often do so. I guess one day, when we have law books that might be in a pile high enough to reach the stratosphere, and restrict every last action we might take or idea we may ever have, we might have made life completely risk free. I don’t really think such an outcome is ever going to be possible. Much more likely we’ll end up a nation of accident prone zombies. Coroners need to stop asking for increased regulation, and start making allowances for the rights of citizens to manage risks for themselves. In the long run, its an approach that will IMHO provide a much more positive outcome.