Volunteer firefighters raced to an emergency in fire trucks decorated in tinsel and reindeer antlers after a 111 call came at the start of the Dargaville Christmas Parade.
The Dargaville Volunteer Fire Brigade were lined up for the parade at 12.30pm today when a paraglider fell down a cliff at nearby Baylys Beach, off Seaview Rd.
Firefighter Donna Powell said the paraglider went to launch off the cliff but it gave way beneath him, sending him in a panicked slide to a ridge about 3m below.
"He was a bit too close to the edge but he didn't actually drop far. He wasn't injured at all."
The man, believed to be in his late 20s, was initially suspended in his harness but managed to extract himself by the time emergency services arrived.
"A couple of our guys just went up the cliff and gave him a hand to get down essentially. He was pretty frightened."
Powell said the 100m-plus high cliff at Baylys Beach entrance was easily scalable by foot but the man was traumatised and afraid to move.
"He was just really frightened. He'd obviously had quite a scare and was probably a little bit in shock.
"In the end he came down under his own steam. He just needed someone up there to help him."
Another team of the Dargaville volunteers leaned over the top of the cliff and pulled the man's paraglider up, but Powell was unsure if it was damaged.
She said it wasn't the first time firefighters had been called to an incident while at the annual Christmas parade.
"It meant that the poor old Christmas parade had no fire trucks. There were two main fire trucks, our tanker and our ute.
"We went racing out there with the tinsel and the antlers on the front of the truck."
Powell said the rescue was all in a day's work and happily the firefighters made it back in time for their children's Christmas party at the station.
"It was all a bit of a no-brainer really."