Paragliders watched helplessly from the air as a fellow pilot crash landed on a Te Mata Peak cliff face on Tuesday afternoon.
The man in his 60s, was believed to have suffered moderate to serious injuries in the fall but was in a stable condition at the Hawke's Bay Hospital on Wednesday morning.
He hit the peak a 'few hundred metres' down the rock face from a launch site on the peak, Hawke's Bay Paragliding Club member Andy Owen said.
"We watched and made sure he was packing up his gear, and the other guy that was here called the ambo and the fire brigade,'' Owen said.
"It sounds like his wing didn't inflate, and he just spun around and landed on the side of the hill.''
Two people had been with the trapped person, witnesses said, before a helicopter arrived and winched the person off.
Emergency services were called out to the accident around 4.40pm and a rescue helicopter airlifted the paraglider off the ledge about 5.30pm.
Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter general manager Ian Wilmot said the man was "just off the peak".
He estimated about 10 per cent of callouts involved winching operations, and said last night's was "relatively straightforward".
A police spokesperson said the man is believed to have moderate to serious injuries.
Earlier, witnesses at the base of the peak had told Hawke's Bay Today they could see a person on a ledge below the Te Mata Peak summit carpark.
The summit is a popular launching spot for paragliders.