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A Fatal Case of Anaphylactic Shock During Paragliding


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Stefania Barbieri, M.D.
Dipartimento di Farmacologia e Anestesia
Via Cesare Battisti 257
35100 Padova


Abstract:  The growth in popularity of flying ultralight aircraft and paragliding has been associated with an increased involvement of Emergency Medical Services because of various types of trauma suffered from both inexperienced and skilled individuals. This case presentation reports on a paraglider pilot, who was seen spinning “unusually” rapidly toward the ground, without visible attempts to regain control of the aircraft. Besides the bilateral mydriasis and the absence of any ECG activity, there was a significant swelling of face, lips, neck, and tongue. Upon opening the mouth, a dead bee was found over the tongue, underneath the palate. A fatal anaphylactic shock was the likely cause of death of the pilot while still “in mid-air.” This case is certainly different from the commonly reported accidents during paragliding. An updated review of the medical literature shows no reported cases of fatal anaphylactic shock during the practice of paragliding.