Injured Bald Hill paraglider pilot ‘in good spirits’

The view south from Bald Hill. File picture: Adam McLean
The view south from Bald Hill. File picture: Adam McLean

A man has been injured in a paragliding mishap north of Bald Hill at Stanwell Tops. 

The 49-year-old man got into trouble after launching off the hill about 4pm Sunday. 

He suffered a lower back injury and was airlifted to Royal North Shore Hospital, where he remained on Monday in a stable condition.

Mark Mitsos, Stanwell Park Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club senior safety officer, said the man was expected to undergo surgery to fuse an estimated six vertebrae. 

He said the man’s wing had collapsed at low altitude soon after he launched off the hill’s east face. 

“He got into some bad air. Normally the wind, if it’s blowing as an easterly, is quite smooth. But if the air is coming from the north it can be a bit turbulent because it’s coming over some trees, and that’s when … it can be a bit tricky.

“There were four people in air when he had the accident; he was the lowest one.” 

Mr Mitsos said the man had taken up the sport five months ago and had accrued about 40 hours air time. 

He remained “in good spirits” despite his ordeal. 

“He’s actually someone who lives in a bus … He’s been hanging around Stanwell since he learned to fly in May,” he said.

The man’s paraglider was entangled in a tree; he came to the ground, landing on his right hip. 

The glider was retrieved, with only a small tear, according to Mr Mitsos.  

Rural Fire Service, NSW Ambulance, police and Fire and Rescue NSW personnel played a role in retrieving the injured man from bushland off Lady Wakehurst Drive at Otford before he was airlifted to hospital. 

This story Injured Bald Hill paraglider pilot ‘in good spirits’ first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.