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Malibu Filmmaker Killed In Paragliding Crash

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A cinematographer who worked for The Ski Channel and The Surf Channel was killed earlier this week in a paragliding crash in Ventura County.Brent Butzke, 27, of Malibu was flying in a motorized paraglider on Tuesday afternoon when it became distressed and crashed. A witness who saw the crash not far from Piru called 9-1-1, but Butzke was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Ventura County Star.

The FAA does not regulate motorized paragliders, and the NTSB does not investigate their crashes, City News Service reports.

John Greynald, a spokesman for the Santa Barbara-based Soaring Association, told the newspaper that motorized paragliding deaths are not that common since enthusiasts are even more highly-trained than regular paragliders or hang-gliders: "One of the things people are unaware of is that there are hundreds and hundreds of hours accumulated without any mishaps. This is actually a pretty rare occurrence."

Butzke was an operations manager at The Ski Channel and The Surf Channel, and also a snow boarder, skateboarder, surfer and motorcyclist.

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The Ski Channel posted a remembrance of Butzke:

Working in action sports takes a certain breed of individual. Typically, one does not embark upon a career in the industry without possessing a sincere passion for extreme sport and adventure. Brent fit the bill to a “T”. He loved to push the envelope, and explore what he was capable of. He was a snowboarder, a skateboarder, a surfer, motorcyclist and flew paragliders Brent was a wild guy, but never was one to brag about his exploits. You could of course inquire about his weekend flying excursions, to which he would simply smile and reply, “It was amazing.” After looking through photos of his various exploits, there’s no question about it. This guy lived his life to the fullest, right up until the very end.

Steve Bellamy, the CEO & Founder of The Ski & Surf Channels, said that Butzke had a good sense of risks that came with the territory: "He is one of the guys you’d be confident would have it all dialed in and a plan for every problem. Whether he was shooting, editing, directing, re-booting servers…he was a whiz. This is a very sad day for all of us."