Photographer Unwittingly Captures Paraglider’s Demise in Alaskan Peaks

photographer sees paraglider vanish into mountains alaska
The Alaskan mountains where the paraglider vanished.

A photographer witnessed a paraglider vanish in the Alaska mountains — before the missing man later died in hospital.

According to The Sacramento Bee, the photographer was taking pictures of paraglider Joshua Randich in Alaska’s Eagle River Valley on Sunday.

Alaska State Troopers spokesman John Dougherty says Randich was out paragliding with a group of friends. However, a photographer taking pictures suddenly lost sight of Randich while taking pictures of the group.

According to Alaska State Troopers, the photographer called them for help around 13:42. The photographer and others tracked the crashed paraglider down within 15 minutes and reached the crash site at an altitude of about 2,700 feet.

The Sacramento Bee reports that Randich had suffered a paragliding crash near Magnificent Peak, one of the peaks lining the Eagle River Valley.

Troops initiated CPR on him. Randich was later taken on an Alaska Air National Guard Pave Hawk helicopter to an Anchorage hospital. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Randich’s body was turned over to the State Medical Examiner for autopsy. It’s unclear what caused him to crash as no one witnessed the wreck. The investigation into the crash is ongoing.

According to Alaska Public Media, Randich was a prominent member of the backcountry skiing community and speed riding community in Alaska. Speed riding combines snow and air, with skiers using paraglider wings as they descend down the mountain.

“I’m not going to look back one day when I’m old and think, ‘Dangit, I should have worked more. I regret playing in the mountains and having the time of my life,’” Randich said in a 2021 episode of Alaska Public Media’s “Indie Alaska”.

Family and friends paid tribute to Randwich on his Instagram page — where he regularly posted videos and photos taken on his paragliding adventures.

4FRNT Skis, who sponsored Randich in his career, shared the news of his passing on Instagram and described him as “wild, brave, downhearted, and a damn good friend.”

Image credits: Header photo via Wikimedia Commons.