Paraglider in three-hour cliff ordeal

By -
File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

A paraglider was stuck in a tree 50m above the ground for three hours today before emergency services pulled him to safety.

Just after noon, four passengers in a red car driving between Whakatane and Ohope saw the Edgecumbe man land in a pohutukawa tree on a cliff face above West End.

They rung 111 before going to check on the paraglider.

Police, the fire brigade and St John were quickly on the scene, with fire rescue and the Whakatane Emergency Response team (WERT) following soon after.

After a briefing period, WERT came up with a plan to place "anchors'' in the cliff face above the tree from which they could hang ropes and winch the man to safety.

After hanging in the tree for three hours, the paraglider, who wanted to be known only as Steve, came out with just a nick on his finger to mark the experience.

"I've flown off here lots of times - but I've never landed in a tree before,'' he said.

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