One of two Waldport brothers who were paragliding Sunday morning off the cliff on Waziyata Street got an unlucky gust of wind, was thrown off course and into a tree. From there his paragliding wing collapse around the tree sending the 21 year old male cascading down the cliff and onto the beach.
Rescuers were there within minutes and removed him from the bottom of the cliff and out ontp the beach where they prepared him for air ambulance transport to Eugene.
Neighbors say it surprised them that anyone would jump off the Waziyata Street cliff, most saying they couldn’t remember anyone doing that. One brother launched from a neighbor’s back yard and took off into the blue. But the second brother wasn’t nearly so fortunate. Neighbors say that the 21 year old launched and instantly got into trouble with the gusty winds, a blast of which elevated him and then blew him eastward toward a tall fir tree. They say although he tried to maneuver around it, he caught his right “wing” tip on the tree. At that point his wing collapsed, sending him straight down the side of the tree, bouncing off the cliff face and straight down to the beach.
As paramedics were tending to him they say he was alert and talking. However, due to the severity of the fall they called in REACH to airlift him to a trauma center in the valley. But when they learned that a surgical team could not be assembled quickly enough in Corvallis, they switched their flight plan to one that could which turned out to be Riverbend in Eugene.
No word on how the lad is doing.
Experienced paragliders say that except for the most experienced paragliders, launches should be limited to fairly flat ground and be limited to wind speeds of no more than 15 to 25 miles an hour. In most cases, they say, gusts to 35 miles an hour, which were prevalent at the time of today’s accident, should be reserved strictly for the most experienced paraglider. One paragliding school just up the coast said they were planning to hold class today but that the winds were simply too strong and unpredictable.
It is not known the level of proficiency the two Waldport brothers possessed at the time of today’s accident.