The story behind the police chase of a paraglider above L.A. County jail

A paraglider who prompted a midair chase near an L.A. County detention center told authorities his flight path was a fluke.

The 67-year-old Northridge man apologized repeatedly for the mistake and said he was flying his powered paraglider in the area when winds blew him near the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Deputies did not arrest the man.

At first, authorities feared the paraglider was attempting drop contraband into the jail.


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About 5:30 p.m., deputies spotted the paraglider flying south over the 5 Freeway and jail access roads.

A sheriff’s helicopter began following the paraglider as deputies and other law enforcement personnel closely monitored it. They did not see the man drop anything while he was in the air.

Using a siren, the air crew ordered the paraglider to land.


After more than 10 minutes, the paraglider hit the ground near Tapia Canyon Paintball Center in Castaic. He was briefly detained. Deputies said he did not have contraband.

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