By Katie Redding The Aspen Times Aspen, CO Colorado,
ASPEN — Aspen paraglider pilot Thomas Brinkmeyer was in good condition Monday afternoon and was expected to be released from Aspen Valley Hospital, according to the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office.
Brinkmeyer, 52, was flying with local club Parapente Aspen when part of his canopy deflated as he neared the ground at the Northstar Nature Preserve east of Aspen.
A sudden wind gust caused the problem, according to local paraglider pilots. Observers say he rotated and then hit the ground.
Fellow pilots called 9-1-1 and initiated rescue efforts.
Fellow paraglider pilot Tomek Pegiel swam across the Roaring Fork River and stayed by the injured pilot's side. He reported that the man was conscious and complaining of back pain.
Rescue efforts were hampered by the swollen river, which stood between rescuers and the injured man. The river divides the North Star property, the designated landing zone is near Highway 82, not on the far side of the river where Brinkmeyer came down.
Responders were still waiting for a raft when Aspen resident Erik Skarvan came by in a canoe. He rowed medics across and stayed to ferry equipment.
The injured man was put on a backboard and eventually taken across the river on a raft loaned by Aspen Whitewater Rafting and transported to the hospital.