Tributes to 'master of the sky' after hang-glider crash
TRIBUTES are flowing for a "master of the air" who died tragically in a tandem hang-gliding crash at Lennox Head on Wednesday.
Neil Mersham, 67, was a hang-gliding instructor with more than 30 years of experience.
A second man, believed to be a 26-year-old Irish national, was critically injured when the hang-glider crashed into the headland at Pat Morton Lookout.
Mr Mersham grew up in Byron Bay and operated the Flight Zone Hang Gliding School where he shared his love of hang-gliding with more than 12,000 clients over the past 25 years.
It is understood he was also a very successful competition pilot and had won several major competitions.
After his shock death, his brother Glen posted on social media: "Rest in peace my dear brother... Neil died today in a hang gliding accident at Lennox Head... feeling very sad".
Many friends were quick to add their shock and condolences.
Ross Anthony Cribb wrote: "Can't believe it... too soon for a master of the air... plus a stylish surfer back in the day."
Barry Sheridan: "So sorry to hear that buddy. A true master of the sky."
John Yates: "Sorry to hear that bad news Glen... my condolences.... hope the next little while is full of good memories celebrating his life."
David Jeffrey Rayner: "Really sorry to hear the bad news Glen. Have many great memories of a great person."
Richmond Police District Inspector Darren Cloake said officers were preparing a brief of evidence for the coroner.
"Police are liaising with the Sports Aviations Federation of Australia who will provide advise and assistance," he said,.
The Sports Aviation Federation of Australia's chief operating officer, Brett Coupland, said Mr Mersham was a popular member of the local hang-gliding community.
"We extend our sincere condolences to the deceased pilot's family and friends, the entire SAFA community is deeply saddened to hear this tragic news," he said.
"The Operations Unit of SAFA is currently assisting with an investigation into the accident, working closely with NSW Police and emergency services."
Mr Coupland said it was too early to determine the cause of the accident.
"However, upon completion of the investigation, SAFA will prepare a report for the Coroner and continue to ensure the safety of our sport for all members," he said.