Girdwood paraglider’s last flight

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Paragliding above the Seward Highway south of Anchorage. Photo credit: Joshua Randich from Instagram.

A paraglider known well in the adventure skiing and gliding community in Girdwood died Sunday afternoon in a paragliding accident.

Alaska State Troopers received a report at 1:42 pm of a paragliding crash near Magnificent Peak in Eagle River Valley area. The caller said he and others were photographing the paraglider when they lost sight of him. The group went to locate the paraglider and initiated CPR.

Joshua Randich, 33, of Girdwood, was transported by Alaska Air National Guard Pave Hawk helicopter to an Anchorage hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

On Instagram, his friends posted how much they admired him for living life to the fullest, and how much Randich will be missed.

“Thank you for everything! For being a friend, brother, teacher, captain, and legend. Your embodiment of leadership is unmatched and I will forever look up to you and your lessons. Nothing but love and appreciation for you brother.”

“Truly one of the greatest humans I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. Thanks for the inspiration and friendship. Fly in peace!!!”

“RIP bud. I’ll always cherish the turns we made together. You welcomed me into the community and taught me to do a 360. Thanks for being a friend.”

“Complete loss of words. The world lost a true legend. You inspired everyone who met you to live a fulfilling life chasing their passion. What a sad day.”

Randich is the second Alaskan to lose his life paragliding in recent days. Dr. Russell Biggs, another adventurer who loved wilderness experiences, died while paragliding in Turkey in early October. Biggs was an Anchorage anesthesiologist and community activist.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Sad report. Life is precious. Its always a shame when a young person is cut short. I found a website that ranked the danger of death per sport. Base Jumping 1/60, Formula-1 Racing 1/100, Climbing in Nepal 1/167, Hang Gliding 1/560, Motorcycle Racing 1/1000, …. there are another 20 ranks progressively less risky.

  2. My kid learned to do this in Utah, his friend talked him into it.
    I’m glad he got married & can’t really afford a good hang glider.

    I remember sitting in a field in Eagle River in the 70’s & watching the hang gliders come down the valley
    and an avid glider hitting some tree stumps and breaking both his femur (thigh) bones
    That field has the Carr’s Grocery/mall complex on it now.

    • It was known as Pebble’s Field. My dad started snowmachine grass drag races there in the 70s. I remember walking to Tips’ bar for bbq. It was held on Labor Day Weekend, Jerry Lewis was always on.

    • I flew there and was responsible for the bear paw festival start up. It sounds like he was not flying a hang glider but a parasail.

  3. When the time comes, I’d rather die doing something I love than alone and infirm in a hospital.

  4. Denali, the highest peak in North America, has a fatality rate of around 9 deaths per 100 successful summits. While its height might be less imposing than other mountains on this list, it presents extreme cold, fierce storms, and technical difficulties, making it a formidable and hazardous climb.

  5. As a survivor of two near fatal motorcycle wrecks (no not my fault on either), I have to say, it is not a shame for someone dying doing what they love. Better to die on a good ride on a sunny day then by a heart attack or some brain hemorrhage at work in your cubical. Those that do, know the risks of they’re chosen hobby. Fly free amigo.

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