Paraglider crashes into trees near Fort Ebey

Rescue crews helped remove a paraglider from a tree Wednesday. - Nathan Whalen / Whidbey News-Times
Rescue crews helped remove a paraglider from a tree Wednesday.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen / Whidbey News-Times

A bruised ego was the only injury sustained by a paraglider from Bothell who crashed into trees near Fort Ebey Wednesday.

Pete Blyzka, who has been paragliding for five-and-a-half years, was gliding above the coast line at Fort Ebey State Park Wednesday morning when he encountered blustery weather.

“It just blew me back over the trees,” he said.

Blyzka is a student at the University of Washington who took the day off from classes for a trip up to Whidbey to paraglide.

He described the accident as “karma.”

Blyzka said he struggled to maintain pressure in the cells of his paraglider because of wind conditions, and he looked for the best place to land.

“It’s better to land in the trees,” Blyzka said.

He noticed the road going through woods near the gun emplacements at the state park. When he landed, he found himself dangling about 25 feet above the ground.

He was paragliding with a friend, who called 911 after he crashed.

Blyzka estimated he waited around a half hour before firefighters arrived.

Chad Michael, battalion chief for Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue, said that firefighters from Oak Harbor and North Whidbey Fire and Rescue also responded.

Even though a ladder truck was dispatched, firefighters were able to use a 35-foot-long ladder to reach Blyzka and pull him to safety.

Firefighters had to use the larger ladder truck to pull Blyzka’s sail from the evergreen trees.

He wasn’t injured as the result of the incident, but he said his wing was “shredded.”

Paragliders from around the region enjoy gliding at Fort Ebey State Park.

They take off from the grassy field located below gun emplacements.


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