ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Rockingham County paraglider James Sutherland has a broken femur and will spend several days in the hospital after he fell out of the sky Monday afternoon.
Sutherland, who is an avid paraglider with more than a thousand logged hours in the sky, is well known throughout Rockingham County for his flights.
He even works with a group called Resurgence PPG, which teaches veterans how to paraglide.
On Monday afternoon James went up to fly over the western part of the county.
Authorities told FOX8 that he began to experience some unknown problem that caused him to fall into a thicket of trees near the Dan Valley Road area near Madison.
Sutherland’s brother Taylor told FOX8 that his brother’s paraglider stalled.
“He was up at 300 feet, and it stalled. A lot of the times, you will stall for your educational purposes,” Taylor said. “Unfortunately, the wing just collapsed, and it just wouldn’t re-inflate.”
James was stilled strapped in the glider when it fell into the thicket. The branches on the trees slowed him down as he fell the last 30 feet.
His leg was broken, and the frame of his glider was left bent.
A woman saw James go down and heard him yell and whistle for help. James also called 911, according to Rockingham County dispatch.
It took less than an hour for rescue crews to get to James and remove him from the wreckage.
Taylor told FOX8 that it’s a miracle his brother is alive, and that his story should act as a reminder that all paragliders have a checklist with them.
“You need to have a checklist just like a quarterback as a checklist of plays on his wrist. If you’re going to do this type of sport, you need to have a checklist, so you don’t have to remember what to do,” he said.