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Lifeguards hoist injured paraglider from cliff

SAN DIEGO — Emergency crews used ropes and a helicopter to rescue a man from a cliff after he crashed and was injured while paragliding above Torrey Pines State Beach.

paraglider cliffsThe accident near Torrey Pines Gliderport was reported at about 5 p.m., San Diego lifeguard Lt. Nick Lerma said.

John Heiney, a hang gliding instructor said the accident was not weather related, but was a judgement error.

“The victim was demoing a new paraglider and was doing aerobatics maneuvers,” said Heiney.  “He didn’t pull out in time and ran into the side of the cliff.”

Emergency crews climbed down to the 26-year-old victim, who was conscious but apparently had suffered an ankle injury and possible head or neck trauma, and loaded him into a transport apparatus. An emergency-services helicopter then hoisted him off the bluff and flew him to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla.

The rescue took about a half-hour.

The unidentified man’s impact into the sea bluff was forceful enough to crack the safety helmet he was wearing, Lerma said.