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Firefighter hospitalized after hitting power lines while paragliding

In spite of his injuries, the firefighter told bystanders to stay away to avoid injury as he lay tangled in power lines

By FireRescue1 Staff

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A firefighter is in the hospital after hitting power lines during a paragliding accident.

FOX13 reported that the firefighter, who is an experienced paraglider, tried to make an emergency landing due to an apparent motor malfunction, but hit the power lines instead.

“I heard a loud ‘Bang! Bang!’ Three bangs and I was like, ‘OK, that sounded like a transformer going off,’” witness Kelly Soutar said.

When Soutar ran to help the firefighter, his gear was still tangled in the lines.

“He said that he couldn’t feel his legs. His shirt was burned open. His chest was pink. He kept trying to shoo people away. He didn’t want to be touched,” Soutar said.

Paramedics said the firefighter was conscious and alert when they transported him to the hospital.

“Each line … is carrying 72,000 volts, and if you come in contact with multiple ones, now you’re almost doubling the voltage that has the potential to go through your body,” St. Pete Fire and Rescue Deputy Fire Marshal Steven Lawrence said.

The accident knocked out power to over 30 homes in the area, according to Duke Energy.

Fire officials have not yet released the firefighter’s name.