FIVE fire brigades, Sorrento SES and Ambulance Victoria paramedics combined for the complex rescue of a stranded paraglider at Flinders on Sunday last week.
Rescue services were called to the cliff face at Flinders Golf Course about 5.20pm after a man in his early 50s became entangled in a dead tree.
He was initially supported by other paragliders near the popular jumping-off point before Flinders CFA members arrived. They were followed by fireys from Shoreham, Rosebud and Dandenong brigades, including the latter’s “high angle rescue team”, and the SES and paramedics.
It took almost three hours to stabilise the man – who sustained a back injury and broken leg – lower him in a basket stretcher to a waiting SES four-wheel drive, take him to the golf club car park and into a helicopter for transport to The Alfred hospital.
Dave Archer of Sorrento SES said the high angle rescue team rigged ropes so the man could be removed from the tree and lowered down the cliff with a man at each corner of the stretcher.
Nicholas Clarke of Flinders CFA said the man had one bit of luck: he was not tangled in blackberries as has occurred before to paragliders who have come to grief at the site.
The golf club site has been a popular spot for hang-gliders and paragliders for many years. The Victorian Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association says it has a good set-up area and ground ramp, and a beach landing area.
“Advanced pilots can enjoy a trip up the coast to the Blowhole point about 1.6km away. It is common in summer for quite buoyant bubbles of air to lift flyers 200 metres or more above exposed rock areas on the beach.”