RIO LINDA, Calif. — Even Santa Claus enjoys trying out new toys during the holidays, but after a harrowing experience on Sunday, our guess is he’ll stick with his sleigh to get where he’s going.
According to the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District, an innovative paraglider dressed as the jolly old elf spent a little over an hour tangled in power lines in Rio Linda before first responders were able to retrieve him unharmed from his bird’s eye perch, KCRA reported.
Alisa Cumbra, whose son witnessed and recorded the crash before running to offer aid, told KOVR she was not exactly sure what to believe after watching the video.
“I’m like, ‘Is he OK? Did he get electrocuted? What’s going on?’” Cumbra told the TV station.
According to KCRA, power was shut off to about 200 customers in the Rio Linda area during the rescue.
Neighbors are apparently accustomed to the nontraditional pilot buzzing the area on a fairly regular basis.
“We see him flying around all of the time. It’s like some kind of go-cart with a parachute on top of it,” Crystal Kennedy, who lives near the crash site, told KOVR.
“He was just flying over here to drop off some candy canes for the kids. And, that’s when he experienced engine problems,” Kennedy added.
The California Highway Patrol’s North Sacramento Office also responded to the rescue, stating in a Facebook post: “Turns out Santa was trying to get some last-minute fun in before the holiday and got into a hot wire situation.”
According to fire officials, the aircraft crashed into and was supported by the power lines, but Sacramento’s St. Nick was seated in such a way that electric conduction from the lines never reached him.
“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,” Capt. Chris Vestal told KOVR.