The West

Paraglider injured in Albany crash
Paramedics treat Lachlan Rutherford in the scrub near Albany where he crashed his paraglider on Thursday.

An experienced paraglider pilot was lucky to be rescued after crashing into rugged coastline at Sandpatch near Albany today.

Lachlan Rutherford, who has about 500 hours flying experience, was flying with a friend early in the afternoon when he crashed about 1km west of the carpark at the Albany Wind Farm.

Paramedics treated Mr Rutherford at the scene before carrying him on a stretcher through thick scrub to an ambulance.

He was taken to Albany Regional Hospital where he was stabilised before being flown to Royal Perth Hospital.

The extent of his injuries could not be confirmed but he is believed to have broken legs.

No one saw Mr Rutherford crash, but he was lucky to be found by his friend Jiri Hlavaty, who runs the WA Paragliding Academy and had been flying with him for about an hour.

Mr Hlavaty called for help and stayed by Mr Rutherford’s side, reassuring him until paramedics arrived.

“I was about to stop and head home when I realised his car was still here and I couldn’t see him flying,” Mr Hlavaty said.

“I flew over the coast searching for him and saw he had crashed. It was lucky for him because I was about to head home.”

Mr Hlavaty’s wife Sylvie, who came to help when she heard about the crash, said Mr Rutherford was an experienced paraglider.

“He has been flying for a long time but the conditions were a bit dodgy when they were flying and the wind got up,” she said.

Albany is regarded as one of the State’s best areas for paragliding, with the peak season between November and March.

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