How to hold brake handles and survive
I've found the organisers initial statement regarding Dillip's death in Bulgaria (below). Apart from slow rescue services, the main issue is that he was found with a half deployed parachute and the brakes still in his hands. They suggest that holding the brakes and trying to deploy would influence glider behaviour. It would certainly impede throwing of the reserve.
I seem to remember that Dillip was in the habit of passing his hands through the brake handles so that they were around his wrist. This has resulted in similar incidents in the past where the pilot has been found it difficult or impossible to release the brakes quickly enough in order to throw the reserve properly.
However we choose to hold the brakes, it is essential that we are able to release them and and deploy without hesitation. Putting the handles over the wrists is a dangerous practice.
Official statement for accident 15 July 2012
Yesterday, Sunday 15 July, the indian pilot Dilip Kotecha falled at the upper part of Ravnets massif, north of Karlovo and Vasil Levski. Later he died from from internal bleeding and injuries.
He flew above the mountain, 120 m above the terrain, when according to witnesses he had collapses, spiral dive, rescue parachute deployment and hard impact into the ground. 5-10 minutes later 3 pilots landed next to him: Jan Minnaar, Ivelin Kalushkov and Daniel Dimov. They reported promptly the condition of Dilip - unconscious with irregular breathing and bleeding from the mouth. Mountain rescue helicopter was called and it arrived within 1 hour and 40 minutes. Unfortunately around 15:30 he stopped breathing. The helping pilots continued with CPR until the coming of rescue helicopter, when the doctor announced him dead.
It is difficult to find the reason of the accident because the weather conditions were normal and because Dilip was relatively experienced pilot, flying from 1995 and he attended SIV courses. He knew the terrain as he flew 5 competitions in Sopot area. He's been flying his glider - Ozone Mantra 4 for one year, had 100 hours on it and flew it in the crowded Czech Open and Skynomad Open in Sopot 2011.
The area of the accident is in the lee of a strong thermal trigger, which probably caused the initial turbulence and collapse. He was found with brake handles in his hands, which might slowed the deploying the rescue with them (the harness velcro for the rescue riser was not opened entirely and rescue container was 10 meters away from him). Trowing rescue with brake handle might influenced the glider behavior.
As far as the accident was not caused by organization failure, the competition will continue. Monday 16 July is a rest and respect day. Shambhala club will donate all entry fee money to Dilip's family and will support his son until his 18th birth day.
From the organization.