A PARAGLIDER who crashed into a giant oak tree walked away with hardly a scratch after being rescued by expert rope teams.

The 25-year-old man had a miracle escape when his paraglider got caught in a thermal above fields in Great Bedwyn, near Marlborough and came crashing down.

Fire service watch manager Mark Hillier, whose Pewsey crew was first at the scene at 1.42pm on Tuesday, said: “He was extremely lucky that the tree broke his fall. It was also fortunate that it was a big strong old oak as it it had been a more flimsy tree the branch would have come crashing to the ground.”

Crews led by Mr Hillier were also able to quickly find the paraglider, who lives in Frome, as had a What3words app which was able to send a precise GPS location to the fire service.

Mr Hillier said: “It definitely made it easier to find him. The tree was in a field a couple over from the road and would have been very difficult to find.

“The app meant that we could get straight to him. When we arrived I assessed the situation and the man was able to tell me that he had secured a line to the tree so I was confident he would not fall and he was not seriously injured.

“He was about 40ft up so there was no way our ladders would reach him. But it meant we could wait for our specialist rope teams from Chippenham and Trowbridge to arrive.

“We kept him chatting and checked he was ok. He was extremely chilled and not at all scared about the situation.”

Whe the experts arrived they used a long ladder to go towards the stranded man and then hooked up ropes to reach him and were then able to hoist him down safely.

The paraglider had taken off from Westbury earlier in the day with a friend and had been heading to Hastings. Although paragliders have only fabric wings and no engines they are able to travel long distances.

During the rescue the second paraglider, who had managed to land without incident, arrived at the scene.

Mr Hillier said: “Once the paraglider was down from the tree he was checked over by an ambulance crew and was found to have no injuries. He was very grateful to everyone who had helped him.

“Afterwards he and his friend just walked away with all their equipment on their backs.”

Crews from Marlborough and Ludgershall also helped.