Hang glider pilot injured after crashing into Oahu mountainside

TK Hinshaw
TK Hinshaw

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

EAST OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A hang glider pilot is recovering from a crash in East Oahu.  The rescue call came in at 2:40 this afternoon but it's unknown when the crash happened or how long the victim was lying on the mountain before two paragliders found him.

The view is one reason why people glide high above the mountains.  The adrenaline rush is another and with it come risks.  A man in his 50's crashed his hang glider on the mountain above Sea Life Park at a launch site known as Lower Cactus.  Two speed flyers, which is another form of paragliding, happened to be hiking up and spotted the man after he crashed.

"At first he didn't want to call 911 but after he was not responsive we decided to call 911 and let them know what was going on," said TK Hinshaw, one of the speed flyers that found the victim.

The man didn't have any obvious signs of broken bones but he did show signs of a head injury.

"When we found him he kind of didn't know what day it was he was kind of slow and we found his helmet and it was dented in and there was some blood in the back of his head," said Hinshaw.

Rescuers were flown to the top of the mountain.  They loaded him onto the helicopter to take him to an ambulance waiting below.  Authorities do not think his injuries are life threatening.

"We're just glad the people that found him did because he wasn't visible from anywhere down on the highway and apparently no one saw him crash," said Capt. Terry Seelig, Honolulu Fire Department.

Hinshaw says there have been five gliding accidents in the last year that required medical attention and he has his theory on what happened in this case.

"He probably either tried to land at our launch site or got blown back and had a really hard landing," said Hinshaw.

And if the victim is like Hinshaw he'd be up in the air again soon unfazed by the crash.

"You still want to fly?" asked Hinshaw to his fellow speed flyer.

"Yeah," he responded.

"Let's do it," said Hinshaw.

They took off high above the mountain moments after the rescue helicopter was cleared from the scene.

Hinshaw did say the wind was strong near Makapuu today.  It was so bumpy he and his buddy cut their flight short just in case.

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