A British tourist has fallen to his death in Argentina while his brother watched him take part in his first paragliding trip.
David Mather, 28, was on holiday visiting his brother who lives in South America when he plunged more than 200ft after slipping out of his harness, according to local reports.
Witnesses said Mr Mather began screaming that something was wrong as soon as he took off with the instructor on New Year’s Eve. He was desperately trying to cling to poles on the paraglide as the instructor tried to keep hold of him.
Their grips failed and the man fell, crashing through palm trees and landing in a mini-golf course in a garden at the foot of the hill. He is thought to have died instantly.
Gareth Mather, 29, told the London Evening Standard: “People were shouting that he wasn’t hooked up properly. You could see him slipping from the harness and the instructor reaching down trying to grab him. Then they went out of sight behind a hill.”
His brother, who lives and works nearby in the Salta province in north-west Argentina, ran round to where Mr Mather had landed but he could not be saved and died at the scene.
Mr Mathers, who worked for Brent Council in London, was on an extended holiday in Central and South America that had included a visit to Belize and scuba diving in Honduras.
Lydia Brown, his girlfriend, and his parents Ian and Ceri, are believed to have arrived in Salta at the weekend.
His family have accused the manager and instructor at the adventure tourist company, which organised the trip, of negligence.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “We have been in contact with the family and have offered consular assistance. We have put the family in touch with locally-based English speaking lawyers”
Witnesses told Argentina’s Diario Panorama newspaper of the moment Mr Mather fell to his death. One said that he shouted as the instructor tried in vain to hold him.
The witness said he was watering his garden when he heard the screams and looked up to see Mr Mather hurtling towards a neighbour’s garden.
A man who was looking after that property said: “It was very strange – the paragliding instructor landed next to the lifeless body and remained motionless, in shock.”