A paraglider pilot flown to hospital this morning with leg injuries has been praised for his quick-thinking after he realised he was going to crash.

The 48-year-old was found among the rocks near a cliff face past Back Beach, west of New Plymouth.

He had moderate injuries to his lower legs, emergency services confirmed.

The Taranaki Community Rescue Helicopter was sent to pick him up because there's no vehicle access to the beach.


The man was conscious and able to communicate with his rescuers, describing the series of decisions he made after he realised he was losing altitude.

St John's district operations manager, Ian May, said he was extremely impressed with the paraglider pilot's quick thinking.

"He lost altitude, so decided to make for a beach landing," said Mr May.

"He did an exceptional job of making a judgment on how that landing would occur to minimise the impact onto him.

"From an intensive-care-paramedic view, I thought that thinking was quite exceptional.
"His injuries could have been a lot worse. The fact they weren't that bad was a credit to his quick thinking and judgment."

Mr May said the man was accompanied by a fellow paraglider pilot, who landed and called emergency services when he saw the crash-landing.