Lakeside Fire Department crews along with resources from the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department responded to the area below El Cajon Mountain in Lakeside Thursday evening in the hopes of conducting a quick rescue for an injured glider.
The man operating the glider reportedly launched from the Blossom Valley area near Quail Canyon Road and flew to an area north of El Monte County Park, where he collided with a tree on the rock face of El Cajon Mountain, roughly 200-300 yards down the slope in steep terrain.
San Diego Sheriff's Department Lt. Daniel Vengler said that the department received the initial call from a Texas-based emergency response center, who had received an alert from a Garmin Satellite SOS device.
Simultaneously, the victim’s wife who was text messaging with him, called SDSO with more information and relayed that the victim sustained an injured leg but was otherwise fine, Vengler said.
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Once rescue crews arrived, they were able to make contact with the individual utilizing both radios and their cell phones.
An SDFD helicopter flew over the man with crews utilizing night vision goggles to try to coordinate a safe path for firefighters on the ground to access him, according to Lakeside Fire Department Chief Don Butz.
Crews worked throughout the night to try to make access to the area, in the hopes a rope rescue could be completed.
At some point overnight, The victim was able to untangle himself from the glider and get down from the tree, where he stayed overnight.
Butz told NBC 7 that the rescue had been completed by 8:30 Friday morning, more than 13 hours after the crash.
"Due to the difficulty of the terrain and obstacles, a rescue overnight was not possible. Once daylight came, we were able to lower a paramedic down to him, and help with the hoist rescue," Butz said.
After the man was hoisted and lowered to the ground, he was briefly evaluated by paramedics but declined any further treatment.
The man called a friend or family member who picked him up and took him home, Butz said.