A dramatic paragliding crash off Te Mata Peak "could have happened to anyone", a member of the Hawke's Bay Paragliding Club says.
The club's safety officer, Shane Davies, arrived below the crash site just as emergency services left to fly the injured paraglider, a man in his 60s, to Hawke's Bay Hospital on Tuesday afternoon.
He said conditions were "light", but three pilots had successfully launched before the crash occurred.
"[It was] nothing that any of the locals would be unfamiliar with.
"It was just a very unfortunate series of events."
Davies described the local pilot, as an "infrequent but active member of the club".
About a half dozen fellow pilots were stationed at the popular launching spot with the season just beginning.
"We are coming into the punchier part of the season with spring thermals.
"Historically, this is the time of year where we do have a few incidents because of conditions changing rapidly."
Davies believed the crash may have been the result of a collapsed wing, which is when the front edge of the wings fold in.
It was more difficult to correct when just taking off, he said.
"We've probably all experienced to a degree little collapses.
"If it happens 5000 feet above the ground you're totally fine but if it's not taken care of quickly it can end up in something worse."
He said it could have happened to anyone and Tuesday was a "happy result".
Davies thanked members of the public for their response, including one person who he understood was the first to reach the paraglider.
It is believed the man suffered moderate to serious injuries in the crash, but was reportedly in a stable condition at Hawke's Bay Hospital the next morning.
Emergency services were called out to the accident about 4.40pm on Tuesday with the rescue helicopter airlifting the paraglider off the ledge about 5.30pm.
Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter general manager Ian Wilmot said the man was "just off the peak" about 100m from the top.
He said the helicopter landed at the Te Mata Peak carpark before lowering a paramedic down and winching them both up.
Wilmot estimated about 10 per cent of callouts involved winching operations, and said Tuesday night's was "relatively straightforward".