High-Flying Chihuahua, Owner Spent Five Hours In Branches
An Australian paraglider who likes
flying with his pet chihuahua found himself stuck in a tree more
than 100 feet above the ground Friday... with his dog...
after a flight gone wrong.
42-year-old Paul Hansen set out on the flight near Melbourne
about 5:00 pm local time Friday, carrying four-year-old Emma
strapped to his chest. Fortunately, Hansen was also carrying a UHF
two-way radio and a mobile phone.
When he hit in the tree shortly after takeoff, he secured Emma,
then tried to call for help on the radio. But as Hansen told
Melbourne's Sunday Age newspaper, "I couldn't get anyone on the
radio. All I could hear was chatter about the cricket and people
were talking about their Friday night, but no one could hear
Hansen had better luck text-messaging friends, who called police
with his position report. A police helicopter crew then made
contact on the UHF radio as they approached his position.
Hansen's rescue took over five hours to complete. He said his
situation was becoming pretty painful, because the heavy dose of
morphine he'd taken before the flight -- to deal with the pain from
his ongoing bout with cancer -- had worn off.
"I normally don't take anything with me if I'm going flying, but
by the time I was hanging up there well into the evening it was
getting pretty painful," he said.
Hansen said his main concern, however, was for his loyal
chihuahua... who slipped out of her harness during the
"It took me nearly an hour to put it back on her because of the
precarious way we were perched," Hansen said. "She knew that we
were in danger, but she didn't panic or anything.
"She always flies with me. She loves it. I wouldn't take her if
she didn't like it," he added. "She goes everywhere with me, so
she's used to being in some pretty radical situations. She's a
pretty awesome little chihuahua."
Hansen told reporters he's considering selling his paraglider
and donating the proceeds to volunteer emergency service