UPDATED: Paraglider crash in St. George leaves man seriously injured in ICU

Brad Roper and Jeff Hunt paraglide on the afternoon of Jan. 1, 2020. | Photo courtesy of Brad Roper, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A 35-year-old man was hospitalized with serious injuries after crashing while paragliding west of St. George on Friday.

Updated 12:30 p.m. Jan. 2, 2021: 

Sgt. Nate Abbott with Washington County Sheriff’s Office says the man was paragliding in the area near Zen Trailhead around 5 p.m. when he lost control and plummeted to the ground, KUTV reported.

“Witnesses say the wind changed causing the paraglider’s chute to collapse,” Abbott said.

The man had serious enough injuries that an Intermountain Life Flight helicopter was used to transport him to Intermountain St. George Regional Hospital.

A photo of Jeff Hunt’s paraglider after it crashed on Jan. 1, 2021 in St. George, Utah. | Photo courtesy of Brad Roper, St. George News

Witnesses were able to render aid to the man until Washington County Sheriff Search and Rescue and paramedics arrived.

A friend who flew in a separate paraglider nearby identified the victim as Jeff Hunt.

“Jeff and I were on a flight New Year’s afternoon when we caught a gust of wind that collapsed our wings. Jeff’s didn’t reinflate in time,” Brad Roper said on a Facebook page created to raise funds for Hunt’s medical recovery.

Roper said Hunt is in the intensive care unit of St. George Regional with a ruptured aorta, broken femur, hip, pelvis, ribs as well as bleeding on his brain and pancreas.

“He’s had a successful heart surgery and will have another major surgery on his femur, pelvis and hip this weekend,” Roper said of Hunt’s condition.

St. George News Weekend Editor/reporter Chris Reed contributed to this story.

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