A PARAGLIDER who was winched off a steep escarpment by helicopter after being seriously injured in a crash is recovering in hospital.

Cleveland Mountain Rescue Team (CMRT) were called out at 3.15pm on Sunday (July 18) by the Yorkshire Ambulance Service after the pilot, 44, from Stockton, suffered back injuries after flying into Carlton Bank, near Lord Stones Country Park, on the North York Moors.

Onlookers said they believed the paraglider had been flying as near to the ridge as possible in an attempt to gain lift.

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CMRT spokesman Barry Warrington said the rescue operation involved 18 members of the team, two helicopters and numerous paramedics.

He said: “The man had crashed into a small gully in the side of the hill and was in an awkward position, facing the hillside.

"It was steep and very slippy, but we managed to get him into a stretcher.

"It was a question of trying to get him out of there as quickly as possible."

Yorkshire Ambulance Service paramedics and CMRT volunteers treated the man on the escarpment, which is 950ft above sea level, before a Yorkshire Air Ambulance crew arrived.

As rescuing the paraglider would have involved a lengthy carry-out across tough terrain, CMRT called for an Sea King helicopter from RAF Leconfield, near Hull, which winched the man off the escarpment, before he was taken to James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough.

Last year, Jim Taylor, 45, from Esh Winning, County Durham, fractured two leg bones while paragliding from the ridge.