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Paraglider died of heart failure before launching, autopsy shows

Photo by ecparker via Flickr Creative Commons

A paraglider found dead over the weekend in the Angeles Forest died of congestive heart failure, an autopsy determined.

Officials announced Wednesday that 69-year-old Thomas Benson Cornelius of West Hills collapsed as he was preparing to launch, and did not make it into the air. "He died of sclerotic cardiovascular disease," said Ed Winter, assistant chief coroner.

Benson was found dead when rescue crews from the L.A. Fire Department and forest deputies arrived Sunday at the launch site near Pacoima, the L.A. Times reported. 

He was reportedly found around 5:20 p.m. on Sunday in the 9800 block of North San Fernando Road above Lopez Canyon Road in Pacoima.

Members of the Sylmar Hang Gliding Association told reporters Monday that club-member Cornelius did not crash, and that he died from a physical ailment.