cape town paragliding accident
A paraglider in Cape Town, SA. Image: File

Home » Paraglider accident in Cape Town: Munster team lay wreath to honour late coach

Paraglider accident in Cape Town: Munster team lay wreath to honour late coach

Ireland’s Munster rugby team laid a wreath on the Sea Point promenade to honour a former coach who died in a paragliding accident.

25-04-24 16:40
cape town paragliding accident
A paraglider in Cape Town, SA. Image: File

The Munster team, who are in South Africa to play the Lions in the United Rugby Championship, laid a wreath in Cape Town on Tuesday in memory of former coach Greig Oliver.

Oliver died in a paragliding accident on 3 July 2023 in Sea Point, Cape Town after a tandem ride with a pilot went horribly wrong.

According to a report following an Air Accident Investigation into the incident, the 22-year-old pilot had put Oliver through a series of quick dynamic acrobatic turns that “the paragliding canopy was not designed for.”


After executing the turns, the pilot lost focus and the pair collided with another glider, the report said. The collision forced their canopy to collapse, causing them to plunge 250 metres toward the Atlantic Ocean.

The instructor then deployed the emergency parachute, which inflated before the pair hit the water. The pilot released his own harness and swam himself back to safety, leaving Oliver trapped in his harness and unable to free himself.

Overwhelmed with the weight of the chute and rigging while battling waves and a large swell, Oliver was pushed under before getting wedged in nearby rocks.

The Munster team are in South Africa to play the Lions on Saturday in the United Rugby Championship. Image: Nick Pawson

The 58-year-old was eventually brought to shore by a NSRI lifeboat where medics performed CPR. Resuscitation efforts failed and the former Munster coach was declared dead at the scene.

“This is the first time we’ve been back in Cape Town since Greig’s sad passing,” said Munster scrumhalf Craig Casey. “So we thought it would be a really powerful thing to do, to lay a wreath in memory of him.”

“We also want to think about his family and friends and everyone he left behind who loved him.”


Oliver, a former Scotland international, had an illustrious coaching career with a focus on junior-level rugby.

After stints at national and club level for Scotland, Oliver moved to Ireland and joined Munster’s coaching set-up in 2011.

At Munster he assumed the role of Elite Player Development Officer with the Munster Rugby Academy. Here he played an instrumental role in developing Munster players for life in professional rugby. 

“A lot of us in the squad loved him to bits and all owe our careers to him,” said Casey. “I know he paved the path for me…he was like a father figure in pro rugby.”

In addition to his role with Munster’s academy, Oliver also held coaching roles with the Ireland U20s, the Munster ‘A’s, and the province’s age-grade sides.

At the time of his death, Oliver was in Cape Town with his wife to support their son Jack, 20, who was playing for Ireland at the World Rugby U20 Championship.

“With Jack being in the Academy as well, it’s unbelievable for us to be able to do this,” Casey added.

“It’s difficult to come down here and see where it happened, and you get all the memories flooding back. He really was a heartbeat of Munster Rugby.”