Japanese paraglider rescued after a cold night stuck in a tree

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

Mon, Jan 06, 2014 - Page 3

A 79-year-old Japanese man was rescued yesterday after spending the night stuck in a tree following a paragliding accident in a mountainous area in Pingtung County, the local fire department said.

The man took off from the Saijia Paragliding Club in Pingtung’s Saijia (賽嘉) at 2pm on Saturday and became trapped in the tree 10 minutes later, the department said.

He was found by a search-and-rescue helicopter at 3:42pm yesterday, the fire department said, adding that he was not injured, but was sent to a hospital for a checkup to make sure he was alright.

The man, who has 19 years of paragliding experience, told the rescue team that he was able to weather the cold night thanks to the windproof coat he was wearing and by using a paragliding cloth as a blanket.

Club instructor Fan Tseng-jen (范增仁) said that the man was blown off course by air streams that deviated his paraglider from its flight route, rescue workers said.

After getting tangled in the tree, the man found his location via GPS and alerted the club and his friends using a radio and a cellphone, Fan said.

The paraglider got stuck at an altitude of between 400m to 500m and did not have any food, but luckily, was carrying a bottle of water, Fan added.

The fire department said that 16 members of a Japanese sport aviation association have been staying in Saijia since Dec. 20 and go paragliding almost every day.