A paraglider stranded in a tree in Madison County was rescued Saturday by an Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Aviation Unit team.
A four-person crew team flew from ALEA’s Montgomery hangar in the agency’s Bell UH-1H (Huey) helicopter to save the paraglider, who had been stranded in the tree near Gurley for four hours. This rescue was described by the ALEA as something different from operations they’ve encountered before.
“He was about 70 feet off the ground, hanging on to a tree limb estimated to be about 4 inches in diameter. He still had his parachute attached to his back, which made it much more challenging and required several attempts to extract him,” said ALEA Corporal Kent Smith, the mission’s tactical flight officer/hoist operator.
After getting into proper position, Tactical Flight Officer Wayne Barlow secured the paraglider in a harness and made a safe extraction from the tree. Within seconds, the man was lifted up and pulled into the helicopter.
The pilot immediately flew to a nearby field to meet fire medics prepared to transport the man by utility vehicle to awaiting emergency medical personnel.
According to Corporal Smith, the operation was a multi-agency team effort that included ALEA Aviation’s Assistant Chief Pilot Shane Hobbs, Tactical Flight Officer Dave Williams, the Gurley Police Department, Huntsville Fire & Rescue and Huntsville Emergency Medical Services Inc.
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