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Man rescued from tree after motorized glider accident

Emergency personnel from Suffolk police emergency services, aviation

Emergency personnel from Suffolk police emergency services, aviation and patrol officers, in addition to a New York Police Department Aviation unit, rescue a man who was trapped in a tree after crashing a motorized glider in Patchogue, Sunday, May 25, 2014. Photo Credit: James Carbone

Firefighters said they rescued a man who became stuck in a tree Sunday as he flew a motorized glider in Patchogue.

Joe Frisina, first lieutenant of the Patchogue Fire Department, said rescuers got to the wooded area near Conklin Avenue where the glider hit the tree about 4 p.m.

When they arrived, they saw a man strapped into the motorized glider who was stuck in a tree about 70 feet off the ground, he said.

The tree was surrounded by dense brush, making rescue attempts difficult, he said.

"The challenge we had was the denseness of the woods," Frisina said. "We had to cut down a lot of brush and tree [branches] to get to him."

It took about two hours for rescuers to clear enough brush and position the ladder truck close enough to reach the man, who by that time had grown antsy and began making some movements, Frisina said.

"We got a little worried that he was going to fall out of the tree on his own," he said.

Rescuers placed air bags under the tree, and ultimately were able to get the man onto the ladder and down to safety.

As the man was taken to a hospital for treatment of what Suffolk County police said were non-life-threatening injuries, firefighters returned to the tree to retrieve the damaged glider.

Frisina said the owner of the glider had been waiting on the ground, concerned for his friend.

"I think he was just flying too low and didn't realize how close the tree was," Frisina said.

Several agencies, including Suffolk police emergency services, aviation and patrol officers, the New York Police Department aviation unit and the Brookhaven Technical Rescue Task Force, responded to the scene, authorities said.

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