QUEANBEYAN firefighters were called to an unusual rescue last week after an injured hang glider became entagled in tree branches near Lake George.
The precarious operation, which took more than three hours, saw firefighters successfully extricate the grounded flyer from his uncomfortable perch.
The rescue was made more difficult by the location of crash which saw the man stuck partway up a steeply wooded slope on the edge of the Federal Highway.
“When we arrived at the scene we discovered the man was stuck quite a few metres up a tall gum tree,” Queanbeyan City Brigade station manager Mark Beachcroft said.
“Considering the guy was perched on two or three dead branches and we weren’t sure how stable the whole thing was, we took our time to get him down and it ended up being a good result.
After securing the hang glider itself to the tree to prevent it falling during the rescue, firefighters used ladders and rescue lines to lower the man out of the treetops.
The man suffered a fractured leg in the crash landing but was otherwise unhurt.
“We were actually quite lucky with the weather conditions,” Mr Beachcroft said. “If it had been a windy night, it would have been much more difficult to get him down without a doubt.
“He was also only about 20 metres off the Federal Highway and I told him he was actually lucky to land where he did. He could have ended up landing on the highway and getting run over.
“So it definitely could have been much worse.”
While unable to speak directly to the cause of the accident, Beachcroft confirmed it had been the man’s first solo flight.
“If you can believe it, it was his first solo flight and it was his birthday as well,” he said. “We sang happy birthday to him once we got him back on the ground…but I don’t reckon he’ll be going up again.”