A Moscow man survived a paraglider crash near the top of the Lewiston Hill and the Old Spiral Highway Sunday afternoon.
Crews from the Lewiston Fire Department with help from Idaho State Police officers and deputies from the Nez Perce County Sheriff’s Office used ropes, rock climbing gear and a stretcher to rescue Nathan Anglen after he crashed on a steep hillside about 200 feet below the top of the highway. The accident happened about about 2:40 p.m.
Firefighters lugged the injured man up the steep slope as other firefighters and the law enforcement officers pulled on a rope with one end fastened to the stretcher and the other fed through a pulley and anchored to an ambulance. The pulley gave them a mechanical advantage to hoist the stretcher up to the highway. A brake prevented the stretcher from slipping downhill.
“We always train and practice for it,” said Lewiston firefighter Mitch Chenault, who set up the ropes for the rescue. “It worked out really well. Training pays off, and this is one of the successful outcomes because of it.”
Anglen was taken to St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, where he was in fair condition Sunday night.
Kyle Richmond of Moscow said he and Anglen where paragliding and took off from an overlook at the top of the highway. Richmond was about 400 feet in the air, with is friend below him but airborne, when the crash occurred. Anglen was able to contact Richmond via radio after the crash, and people who were at the overlook to take in the autumn views of the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley called 911.
“He’s probably one of the best paragliders pilots in northern Idaho. He’s been flying over 10 years,” Richmond said of his friend. “It was just a freak accident.”
He said conditions were calm at the time of the accident, and the two hoped to use thermals and wind out of the south to fly to Moscow. If that didn’t work out they planned to land in a friend’s yard who has a home off of the Spiral Highway, something they have done in the past.
Richmond described Anglen as a safe and conservative pilot and paragliding as “like hanging from a cloud.”
“There is nothing like it,” he said.
Richmond said his friend banged his head pretty good, was having some difficulty breathing and likely suffered a broken wrist. But he was alert and talking with first responders. He was wearing a helmet.
“He’s not feeling great, but he’s still able to communicate,” he said.
Firefighter Brian Burke, who helped treat Anglen and haul him up the slope, said the man told rescuers “his chute just folded up on him.”
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