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Paraglider crashes in North Huntingdon

Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review
North Huntingdon police Sergeant Duane Kucera and Hartford Heights assistant fire chief Mark Gibas at the scene of an accident where and ultralight aircraft crash landed in a wooded area off of Nehrig Hill Road on September 29, 2012 near Ardara.

Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, 4:26 p.m.
 

Two men were injured Saturday afternoon when the paraglider they were riding crashed into the woods in a remote hilltop in the Ardara section of North Huntingdon.

One of the men was transported by ambulance to an area hospital and another was flown by medical helicopter to a trauma center in Pittsburgh, said Robert Leuthold, a North Huntingdon EMS/Rescue paramedic who was involved in the rescue.

North Huntingdon police Sgt. Duane Kucera said he did not know the identities of those injured in the crash.

The paraglider, which has a parachute attached to a frame holding an open-air seat and engine, crashed at 3:58 p.m. in an area about 50 yards off Nehrig Hill Road. The parachute that is inflated above the paraglider was hanging in trees adjacent to the engine.

Rescuers found the men on the ground, but close to the edge of a 30-foot dropoff above a dirt road. It took emergency personnel about 15 minutes to place the injured men in wire-mesh Stokes baskets and lower them to the ground, said Jason Fait, a member of the Penn Township Ambulance-North Huntingdon EMS/Rescue Technical Rescue Division.

Kucera said that the Federal Aviation Administration was notified of the accident.

Leuthold said they were told that the men riding in the paraglider were going to a birthday party in the area and were looking for a nearby level field to land when they crashed.

One Nehrig Hill Road resident, Joseph Popovich, said he had heard the propeller from the paraglider flying overhead for a while then heard a bang.

“I thought someone in an ATV had come out (of the woods) and hit a car,” Popovich said.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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