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Queenstown paragliders incident: Pilot and passenger rescued after landing in a tree

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Rescue operations are under way for tandem paragliders who crashed into trees near Queenstown on Christmas morning. Photo / James Allan

A paraglider pilot and their passenger had to be rescued on Christmas Day after getting into difficulties and landing in a tree.

The commercial pilot and passenger with GForce Paragliding were several minutes into their flight from Skyline Gondola in Queenstown when the pilot encountered difficulties.

They landed safely in a tree behind the Fernhill residential suburb after the pilot looked for an alternative landing site, the company told the Herald in a statement.

Police and search and rescue personnel attended and the passenger was airlifted by helicopter, due to terrain accessibility issues, to the nearby Lakes District Hospital for assessment and observation. The pilot was uninjured.

The company says it has notified the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and all relevant authorities and will carry out their own internal investigations into the incident.

GForce Paragliding co-director Gavin Taylor said the company was fully supporting the passenger and other family members, and would continue collaborating with authorities.

“No further information is available at this time,” the statement concluded.

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