A paraglider’s flight took an unexpected turn from soaring success to tangled mess when he became trapped in a cluster of power lines for several hours Wednesday.
While trying to land at the Yuba County airport during a training exercise, the paraglider veered into electrical lines in Olivehurst, about 40 miles north of Sacramento. Officials with the Olivehurst Fire Department said the power wires, which were live when the man flew into them, served as his only support while first responders worked to rescue him.
Power was cut from the lines while crews worked to save the paraglider, who has not yet been identified. No major injuries were reported.
“The difficulty was making sure that the lines were de-energized to make sure that our firefighters were safe before we could make patient contact,” Battalion Chief Randy York said.
“Our main focus was letting him know to stay in contact with the aircraft and not to reach out and touch us so that the aircraft stayed still,” York said. “He’s exhausted, but all his vitals seem to be stable.”
Happening now: PG&E crews are working on the power lines to help the paraglider stuck in the lines. Yuba County Sheriff & Olivehurst Fire Department also out here. pic.twitter.com/US2mfeGzIa— Marlei Martinez (@MarleiMartinez) February 20, 2020
Video and photos from the scene show the man dangling precariously over the side of a road while perched among the power lines. A Pacific Gas & Electric Co. truck was on site during the rescue, as was a firetruck.
According to the U.S. Hang Gliding and Paragliding Assn., two paragliders died from the sport in 2018, and seven died in 2017.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.