The jump site in San Coronado, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where Tania Sultana took-off with her instructor
Brazilian media have described Maltese tourist Tania Sultana as a "living miracle" after managing to avoid serious injury or death during a hang gliding jump gone wrong, which killed her 42 year-old professional instructor.
The tragedy occurred in Sao Conrado, in the South Zone of Rio, where hundreds of tandem flights - mostly with experienced pilots ferrying foreign tourists - occur each day.
The pilot, identified as Wanderlei Nascimento Coelho, 42, commonly known as 'Delei', reportedly crashed into a field on Canoas Road, a landmark area in Rio de Janeiro.
Delei died on the spot, but his passenger, Maltese national Tania Sultana from Birkirkara, who is currently on holiday in Brazil together with a group of friends, miraculously survived the incident after managing to remain secured to the hang glider and ended-up stuck in a tree.
The pair took off from Pedra Bonita, a 507-meter high peak, and would have landed on the beach in Sao Conrado about eight minutes later.
Initially, rescuers took Sultana to the Sao Conrado Flight Club, according to the club director, Vinicius Cordeiro, then to testify at the Tourist Service Bureau (DEAT), in Leblon.
Tania Sultana was reported to be in a state of shock, and resting at her hotel.
According to Brazilian media, the pilot had more than 15-years of experience. He noticed a problem on the wing and tried to activate the emergency parachute. Trees caught the parachute, which had not opened but the pilot hit the ground.
This is the second fatality at the site this year. In March, Priscila Boliveira, 24, sister of known Brazilian actor Fabricio Boliveira, died in a hang glider accident, falling 20 meters after jumping from Pedra Bonita, also in Sao Conrado. Authorities charged the pilot in that case with negligent manslaughter.
Moviegoers might recognise the takeoff ramp at the Sao Conrado Flight Club, which featured in the 2011 big-budget animated film "Rio," which featured an all-star Hollywood cast voicing the characters.
In a message to MaltaToday from Brazil, Sultana stressed that she was "100% ok," adding that she was "indeed lucky but I don't even have a scratch."
"I am ok and all I want is to be left in peace so that I can continue to enjoy the rest of this amazing trip!" Sultana said.