SALT LAKE CITY – A man driving on 3300 South and Wasatch Boulevard witnessed a paraglider fall roughly 200 feet from the sky on Tuesday afternoon.
“I saw him take a collapse,” said Blayde McIntire.
McIntire, who has more than a decade of experience as a paraglider himself, knew right away this was a serious accident.
“He disappeared and obviously my heart sank a little bit,” McIntire said. “I knew that he was probably going to be in a bad situation.”
McIntire immediately drove to a trail, where he and his wife hiked 30 minutes to find the glider.
“A lot of adrenaline,” McIntire said. “Trying to go as fast as we could, but it’s pretty steep and it was a tough hike.”
He and other witnesses were first on the scene to offer aid to the injured glider. They helped Salt Lake County Search and rescue pinpoint the location of the man – saving precious time in their rescue efforts.
“I think with his injuries, it was critical that he got help quickly,” said Todd Taylor of Salt Lake County Search and Rescue.
Rescuers made their way up the mountain and helped hoist the glider on to a LifeFlight helicopter. The man was brought to safety with the whole operation lasting 90 minutes.
“It was a quick rescue thanks to LifeFlight, and the friends and the bystanders who were there before we got there,” Taylor said.
Wednesday, Salt Lake County Search and Rescue presented McIntire and the other good Samaritans with medals for stepping up to help the man in need.
“The friends and bystanders were critical,” Taylor said.
The 48-year-old paraglider suffered serious injuries but is expected to recover.