Paraglider in fatal accident near Avalon Pier

By on April 7, 2020

(Kill Devil Hills)

On April 7, at approximately 6:55 a.m., officers responded to a call about a paraglider that had crash landed in the ocean near Avalon Pier (2105 N. Virginia Dare Trail, Kill Devil Hills). The pilot was William B. Koebornick, a 52-year-old male with a last known address of Kill Devil Hills, NC.

A witness/good Samaritan on the beach near the pier observed the paraglider experiencing difficulty and the pilot landed in the ocean approximately 50 yards offshore and close to the Avalon Pier. The Samaritan called 911, then grabbed a wetsuit and two surfboards to attempt a rescue.

Kill Devil Hills officers arrived on scene and were able to lower a rescue rope to the victim. The pilot was alive, but he was trapped in his harness. Between the efforts of the Samaritan and the officers the pilot was temporarily stabilized, however the weight of the paraglider’s motor, the entanglement of the harness and the persistent wave action caused the pilot to be pulled underwater. Despite repeated efforts to save him, the pilot succumbed to drowning.

Kill Devil Hills Ocean Rescue and Fire Department arrived and aided in the lifesaving and recovery efforts. Lifeguards ultimately had to cut the pilot free from the harness to free him.

The ocean conditions at the time were two-to-four-foot seas and the water temperature was approximately 54 degrees.

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  • Avaloner

    I witnessed this event take place this morning. Really sorry to see the paraglider lose his life. God bless the surfer that rushed to put on his wetsuit, paddled out and tried his hardest to save him.

    Tuesday, Apr 7 @ 11:44 am
  • John Towler

    It occurs to me the Outer Banks community is pretty good about rallying around tragedies like this in order to have some good come out of it. In this case, I suggest a fundraiser to equip all the piers on the OBX with a couple of lifesavers and rescue ropes. I don’t know that people fall (or jump) in the water often, but better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

    Tuesday, Apr 7 @ 12:08 pm
  • Elizabeth

    OBX folks please do all your shopping in the OBX ! You have grocery stores , hardware stores, pharmacies, Walmart , and lots of open restaurants who need you . Anything else you need you can order and have delivered! Joyrides just put more traffic at our gas stations .

    Tuesday, Apr 7 @ 1:55 pm
  • Tim Cafferty


    Bill was our rental manager here at Outer Banks Blue Realty Services. He was a dedicated employee, great friend, and a real community minded person (he volunteered at the Aquarium each Thursday for the past 20 years diving to help clean the tanks, etc.).
    The picture you have posted with this very detailed account of his passing is in the mind of many of us inappropriate. We do not need to see his paramotor remains tangled in the pilings of the pier.
    Out of respect for his parents in Iowa, his many friends and his colleagues, I respectfully ask that you remove this picture from this article. It is beneath the editorial standards you have set for many years.
    Thank you for your consideration.

    Tuesday, Apr 7 @ 2:30 pm
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    Tim, we’re sorry if that image was upsetting and in light of your request, we are happy to remove it.

    Tuesday, Apr 7 @ 6:34 pm