OSP: Pilot saved from tree after motorized hang glider crash

Local News

NEWTON FALLS, Ohio (WKBN) – An accident took place on State Route 5 near the Braceville Airport in Braceville Township, Newton Falls.

Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers in Warren said a motorized hang glider was stuck in a tree about 30 feet in the air.

“Gentleman’s a tough, though gentleman,” said fire chief Todd Garland.

OSP reports said the 71-year-old pilot is conscious and alert, but suffered a compound fracture on his left leg, a broken collarbone and a few other injuries. He was flown to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Youngstown.

Numerous fire departments, and ambulances are on scene were able to get pilot out of the glider and down from the tree.

“Would up being about 35-36 feet in the air. The plane was inverted, hanging from the front tire, his leg was stuck in there, the whole nine yards. He was wedged,” Garland said.

OSP said the crash took place shortly after takeoff shortly after 10 a.m. He crashed in a swampy area, which made rescue difficult.

The pilot made a left turn, then crashed into the trees.

“It was working off the top of 40-foot extension ladders trying to cut limbs down and get — he was just tangled — he just hung and was twisted right in the middle of all the trees,” Garland said.

The pilot’s friend Felipe Amunategui witnessed the incident. He isn’t sure how it happened but they’ve been flying for over 40 years and very rarely see this happen.

“He took off, seemed uneventful. It was climbing out and in a usual manner, makes a left turn, which is typical when you’re flying out of the pattern and then suddenly the turn became more steep and abrupt and the aircraft is now flying in a southerly direction and it struck the treeline,” Amunategui said.

“Everybody worked great. We had awesome crews, awesome guys. I can’t thank these guys enough honestly,” Garland said.

Warren OSP is continuing to investigate the crash.

Note: An earlier version of this story said it was an ultra glider. OSP informed it was a motorized hang glider.

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