Rescuers pluck paraglider pilot from trees after Tiger Mountain crash
July 14, 2009
By Warren Kagarise
UPDATED — 11:45 a.m. July 16, 2009
A paraglider pilot crashed into trees on Tiger Mountain Tuesday afternoon, ending his otherwise uneventful flight with broken ribs. Crews freed the trapped pilot from trees during a dramatic rescue as afternoon turned to evening.
Authorities identified the pilot as 47-year-old Spanaway resident Gene Beaver.*
A Navy Blackhawk helicopter based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island plucked the pilot from the woods while local crews worked on the ground.
Eastside Fire & Rescue Firefighter Ryan Hendricks said the Navy helicopter crew loaded the injured paraglider pilot into a basket to lift him from Tiger Mountain. EFR crews and King County Search and Rescue, a volunteer group, coordinated the rescue on the ground as the Navy chopper and news helicopters whirred overhead.
Beaver was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center.
Marc Chirico, owner of Seattle Paragliding on Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast, described Beaver as an experienced pilot who had completed about 150 paraglider flights.
“He flew mid-day, had a great time,” he said.
“He got himself into a bit too much adventure,” crashed into trees and broke ribs, Chirico said.
Poo Poo Point atop Tiger Mountain is a popular takeoff spot for paraglider pilots.
Chirico described the crash site on the wooded mountainside as about a quarter-mile from Chirico Trail.
*This report contains corrected information.