RIO LINDA, Calif. (CBS Sacramento) – A paraglider dressed as Santa Claus was rescued after being caught in power lines in California on Sunday.
Santa was removed safely from the power lines near 7th Avenue in Rio Linda after being trapped for over an hour, according to the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District. Alisa Cumbra’s son witnessed and recorded the crash and ran to help in any way he could. When she saw the video, Cumbra didn’t know what to believe.
“I’m like, is he okay? Did he get electrocuted? What’s going on?” Cumbra told KOVR-TV in Sacramento.
Neighbors said they heard this pilot buzzing the skies before in this area. “We see him flying around all of the time. It’s like some kind of go-kart with a parachute on top of it,” said Crystal Kennedy, who lives near where the crash happened.
It was a sight that those who know the pilot were shocked to see happen. “He did it. He went ahead and did it. He hit the power line. He scared me with it yesterday,” said a woman named Angela, who said she was the pilot’s friend. “He was just handing out candy canes to the kids and came in a little too low.”
This jolly Saint Nick, who traded in Rudolph for this aircraft, was just trying to spread some holiday cheer. “He was just flying over here to drop off some candy canes for the kids. And, that’s when he experienced engine problems,” Kennedy said.
Mike Hawthorne knew right away something was wrong.
“If I’m being completely honest, I was actually using the restroom and the power went out when I was trying to use the restroom,” he said.
Hawthorne went down the street and started live-streaming for the Rio Linda Messenger Facebook page as people all around the country started watching.
“Knowing that he wasn’t injured, I was more entertained to see how he was going to get down,” Hawthorne said.
For some, knowing that this particular Santa is going to be okay, according to Sacramento Metro Fire, is giving them a big sigh of relief as Christmas approaches.
Metro Fire told KOVR that how the aircraft crashed into and was supported by the power lines and that he was seated in the pilot’s seat a certain way that there wasn’t conduction from the lines occurring at the time.
“The pilot had a mishap. He was actually out doing something, really good for the community, and in 2020 I think it’s something we all need,” Cpt. Chris Vestal said.