Murray D'Aubin 7/2/79 Hatcher Pass Hang Glider Fall

Hang glider crashes in Hatcher Pass
ADN 7/2/79

Murray D'Aubin's last hang glider ride was a short one.  The 30-year-old welder from Colorado was airborne for about 15 seconds before crashing to his death above Independence Mine in Hatcher Pass Saturday according to witnesses.

"He had just started off.  He got about 30 feet up and caught a crosswind or something and did a U-turn and came right back to it," said Dave Herman, who watched the crash from his picnic site above D'Aubin's take off spot.

Herman's brother John was also watching.  "He had a stake with an orange flag for the wind," he said.  "He waited for a long time for the wind to get right.  He even waited for five or 10 minutes after he was harnessed up.  He jumped out and came right back."

The Hermans found the 30-year-old D'Aubin face down and partially buried in the rocky lichen.  For half an hour they tried artificial resuscitation without success.  D'Aubin apparently suffered a broken neck, wrist, leg and massive internal injuries

"There was no pulse.  We got him on his back to get some air in him, but there was nothing we could do," said John Herman.

After citizens band radio calls and some telephone work from the mine, an Alaska State Trooper and a hearse arrived 2-1/2 hours later, Herman said.

Although several other hang gliders were in the vicinity, D'Aubin was the only one taking off from that spot.  His glider was equipped with a belly sling, enabling him to ride while lying on his stomach.

Funeral services for D'Aubin, are pending at Witzleben Funeral Home.

He was a welder for the Stack Steel Co.