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Stranded hang glider rescued after leaping from High Rock

Bystanders rescue woman stranded in 40-foot tree

Bystanders rescue woman stranded in 40-foot tree

December 31, 2005|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

tiffanya@herald-mail.com

CASCADE -

Bystanders, with some help from the Washington County Special Operations Team, freed a female hang glider from the top of a 40-foot tree on Friday after she leapt from High Rock.

Rescuers responded to the scene about 3 p.m. and found the woman's friends using safety rope to get her down. Officials would not release the name of the victim, but said that the Virginia woman was uninjured and had declined additional help.

The Washington County Special Operations Team, part of the county's Division of Fire and Emergency Services, provided the bystanders with an additional safety rope, said John Bentley, chief of the Special Operations Team.

"They had one rope lapped over a tree that could have been dead at best," Bentley said. "We got another rope and wrapped it around another tree in case one snapped."

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The Leitersburg Volunteer Fire Co., Blue Ridge Summit (Pa.) Fire and Rescue Department and Smithsburg Emergency Medical Services also responded to the call.

It took nearly 45 minutes for the bystanders to free the woman, Bentley said.

It was unknown whether the woman had a permit, which is required in order to hang glide from High Rock, said Kirk Mongan, chief of the Leitersburg Volunteer Fire Co.

Mongan said it was uncommon for people to hang glide in the winter, but said the woman and bystanders appeared to be seasoned professionals.

Bentley said Friday's rescue was the third hang-gliding incident this year in Washington County.

Bentley said the only other hang-gliding incident at High Rock this year occurred in July, when a man got stuck in a 75-foot tree.

"This incident was nearly identical," Bentley said. "But this guy's only option was to hang there and wait for someone to rescue him or to cut the rope and, of course, possibly injure himself severely."

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