VIDEO: Hang-gliding mishap leaves man holding on for dear life

SWITZERLAND -- If you're afraid of heights, look away.

This heart-stopping video is going viral, with people literally holding their breath and holding out hope right along with an American tourist.

Chris Gursky of Florida was on his first day of vacation in Switzerland. He went hang gliding for the very first time, and ended up hanging on for dear life because his pilot forgot to strap him in with a harness.

Video shows the moment they take flight, as he and the pilot both quickly realize there's a major problem.

"During was like time stood still, just looking for a handhold, looking for somewhere to hold onto and wondering what the heck is going on," Gursky said.

As he jokes about the nice views, he's holding on with a death grip, barely able to hold on with one hand. The instructor tries to make an early landing but now he is piloting with one hand, trying to hold Gursky with the other.

As the pilot wrestles to hold onto Gursky, he can't control the glider, so they both soar higher.

"I didn't have much grip left in me at all," Gursky said. "My hand was opening. I was slipping... I was just trying to stay calm, trying to hold on for dear life. I looked down once and I thought to myself: 'This is it. I'm going to fall to my death - I'm a goner.'"

After the four longest minutes of his life, they made it close to the ground. That's when Gursky lets go and lands on the ground going 45 mph.

The 54-year-old broke a wrist and ended up with seven screws and a titanium plate in it. He also tore a bicep and hurt his left shoulder.

However, Gursky says he's not mad at the pilot. He says it was a mistake, they got down safely, and he added: "If I had the chance to fly with him again, I would."
Copyright © 2022 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.