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Cops: Sky divers stuck in tree rescued

Two sky divers who jumped out of a plane in tandem were rescued after strong, freak winds blew them into a tree in Manorville Tuesday evening, officials said.

The two hung in their harnesses for about 20 to 30 minutes, 20 feet off the ground on River Road, east of Swan Lake Golf Course, said Ray Maynard, the owner of Skydive Long Island.

Riverhead police said the sky divers were rescued by 7:30 p.m. The winds heralded heavy rains in parts of the region, police said.

"I'm very happy that no one got a scratch," Maynard said.

About five sets of tandem jumpers took off in a plane from Calverton's old military airport shortly before 6:30 p.m., he said. Five first-time jumpers were paired with experienced sky divers, he said.

"There was no wind on the ground at all, and out of nowhere, the wind started blowing very, very hard," Maynard said. "We ran into the office to call up on the radio to tell the pilot to stop them from going but they had just left the airplane."

Maynard estimated the winds at 50 mph.

He and his employees raced in their cars to follow the various tandem jumpers and found the other four pairs had landed safely in clear areas, Maynard said.

But a woman first-time jumper in her 20s and a sky diver with more than 10 years' experience were suspended among the branches, Maynard said.

"I walked up to them and said, 'Are you OK?' " the business owner said. "Both of them said yes. She was smiling. He said he was fine."

Maynard started Skydive Long Island 27 years ago. He said clients watch a video before being paired with a sky diver and going on the plane.

"Safety is our very first concern," Maynard said. "We want everybody to be safe. After they're safe, then we can let them have a good time."

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