A Frenchman who crashed in remote sand dunes in the Far North while paramotoring was seriously injured and flown to hospital.

Fortunately the man was wearing a personal emergency locator beacon, which meant the crew onboard the Northland Electricity rescue helicopter could fly straight to him after the crash in dunes, about 4km inland from Te Paki Stream, on Saturday at 11am.

Paramotoring is when paragliders, using a chute, strap a motor to their back to become airborne.

Two men had launched from the public carpark at Te Paki stream when one of them appeared to hit air turbulence and fell an estimated 10m. The second man stopped and tried to help his friend, but realised he was seriously injured and activated a locator beacon.


The rescue helicopter crew were able to identify the man's location quickly, and after a paramedic stabilised him he was flown to Whangarei Hospital and later taken to Auckland with suspected spinal injuries. Police said there was footage of the flight which might give a clue as to why the man crashed.