Ultralight crashes at PO Airport

Fire crews had to be called in early Friday morning to rescue a man who had managed to get himself stuck 50 feet up in a tree.

According to Fire District 7 officials, the 74-year-old man had just taken off from Port Orchard Airport shortly after 7 a.m. in his ultralight-like vehicle when the craft apparently suffered mechanical problems.

“The battalion chief (on duty then) told me a pulley froze,” said battalion chief Dan Olson. “I really don’t know.”

The man, out of control, crash-landed and became entangled in a mature evergreen tree near the runway.

He called for help, but at that point the fire district’s big ladder truck was in the shop. In the end, fire crews had to borrow a ladder truck from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard to rescue the trapped aviator.

The man suffered minor scratches to his face — probably sustained when he plowed into the outer branches — and was treated on-scene. Fire officials were unable to get the man’s name or determine where he was from.

“We don’t know much, unfortunately,” said fire district spokeswoman Lisa Kirkemo. “He refused transport.”

Olson, who lives near the airport, said he frequently sees people flying similar aircraft — which essentially consist of a large parachute harnessed to a propeller — in the area.

No one at the fire district knew whether the man who crashed had any prior experience flying such a device.

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