Hot cuppa called for after flight adventure

Atlantis Backpackers owner Sheira Hudson.
Atlantis Backpackers owner Sheira Hudson.

All Howard Hudson wanted after his paragliding adventure last Sunday was a nice hot cuppa, says his wife.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force aircraftsman had taken off from Collins Hill behind Picton about 1.15pm in good conditions, but the wind changed sending him 1000 metres into the air and pushing him off course.

It was the 49-year-old's second solo flight.

His wife Sheira said yesterday he radioed her once he realised he was not going to be able to land where he had planned.

She was not been too worried, "but when I saw the change in weather I thought ‘oh my god, he must be cold and he probably doesn't want to be in the air now'."

Mrs Hudson said she was reluctant to call search and rescue because she didn't want it blown out of proportion.

"It was with great and horrifying reluctance to call [search and rescue]. The only reason I had to call was because I could not reach him on his cellphone."

Meanwhile, Mr Hudson suffered air sickness, vomiting as he searched for a place to land, finally coming down on farmland near Robin Hood Bay in Port Underwood.

He has said he was unable to move, except to dry retch and, exhausted, soon fell asleep in the long grass.

The Nelson Marlborough rescue helicopter was called about 6.50pm on Sunday after being alerted that Mr Hudson was three hours overdue.

Rescue helicopter pilot Duncan Gourley said the crew radioed Mr Hudson to find out his location.

Mrs Hudson said she had not been too worried about him because she knew he was well prepared, but she did run and give him a kiss when she saw him.

The Marlborough Express