Hang Gliding Accident in Caroline County - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Hang Gliding Accident in Caroline County Leaves 1 Severely Injured

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

RIDGELY, Md.- One of 22 hang gliders participating in an annual competition in Ridgely sustained serious injuries following a crash early Wednesday afternoon.

According to Steve Hurlock, chief of emergency communications for Caroline County, three hang gliders crash-landed during the East Coast Hang Gliding Championship hosted by Highland Aerosports at the Ridgely Airpark.

Hurlock said that two of the hang gliders who went down suffered minor injuries and were treated at the scene. However, the third hang glider, 51-year-old Paul M. Vernon of Wilmington, Del., was severely injured and flown by Maryland State Police helicopter to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. Vernon's condition is listed as serious but stable at this time, said MSP investigators, who have launched a probe into the accident.

Police said their investigation revealed that Vernon was operating his hang glider about four miles north of the Ridgely Airpark when he lost control and crash-landed in a wheat field. The crash was observed by several witnesses, one of whom called 9-1-1. Police noted that in addition, another hang glider who witnessed the accident landed to assist Vernon.

Investigators said that there was no damage to Vernon's hang glider during a post-crash inspection. The exact cause of the crash is unknown at this time, though police suspect that operator error was a contributing factor.

The other hang gliders involved in the competition safely landed at the Massey Aerodome in Kent County.

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