A French paraglider's flight from the summit of Mt Taranaki ended painfully when he crash landed in the North Egmont visitor centre car park.
The 24-year-old ploughed through the tops of several trees, bounced off the roof of a camper van and landed so hard on the asphalt he bounced, witnesses said.
''He hit it with a bang. Gees, he hit it hard,'' said Jim Fisher of Nelson.
''He tried to get up after he landed and pull his parachute in but he collapsed. I think he hurt his back pretty bad.''
Other witnesses who worked in the North Egmont visitor centre said the Department of Conservation rules forbade them from talking to the media but the man had jumped from the summit of Mt Taranaki and come down fast.
''I saw him jump. I ran down to get my camera and after one minute he was already half way down. You could hear the wind beneath his chute. He was going really fast,'' one worker said.
Another said the tourist appeared to have initially caught a massive updraught but then began coming down the mountain too quickly.
Equipped with a helmet, protective clothing and an ''expensive chute'' witnesses said the man told them he was an experienced paraglider.
Though injured the man was able to put himself onto an ambulance stretcher and was taken to Taranaki Base Hospital as a precaution police said.
DOC officer Dave Rogers said he did not think it was illegal to paraglide off Mt Taranaki but it was not something the department would encourage.
''The high winds up there make it a pretty risky activity and there are not many places to land,'' he said.
The callout was just one of four incidents on Mt Taranaki today. Police said two climbers in two different parties suffered debilitating cramps and fire crews were called to the North Egmont visitor's centre to put out the smoking engine of a red convertible car.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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