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Glider pilot's lucky escape after crashing into Northumberland's highest peak

The scene of the rescue in Northumberland. Credit: Northumbrian National Park Mountain Rescue

A glider pilot had a lucky escape when he was trapped in a snow storm for several hours after crashing into Northumberland's highest peak.

Rescue teams battled freezing temperatures for almost two hours before finding the man on The Cheviot.

He was then cut from his craft and airlifted to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle but, remarkably, he suffered only minor injuries.

Helicopters could not land at the crash site due to the weather conditions, forcing medical teams to hike up to the location at the top of the 2,600ft mountain.

After being removed from the plane, the casualty was lowered 400 metres in darkness by Northumbria National Park and North of Tyne volunteer-led mountain rescue teams to a waiting HM Coastguard helicopter that took him to hospital.

A spokesman for Great North Air Ambulance Service said: "We were alerted at about 14:15 to a glider crash in the Northumberland area.

"Due to difficult weather conditions we left our clinical team on scene to reach the plane on foot and administer the care needed.

"Our team then accompanied him to hospital."

Iain Nixon, the team leader for Northumbrian National Park Mountain Rescue, said the reasons behind the crash were not clear.

The cloud cover was low and the glider needed to go higher," he said.

When the cloud cover raised he was very close to the hillside.

The cloud cover was low and the glider needed to go higher.

When the cloud cover raised he was very close to the hillside."

– Iain Nixon, Northumbrian National Park Mountain Rescue
The scene in Northumberland. Credit: Northumbrian National Park Mountain Rescue

The glider was "relatively undamaged" by the impact, said Iain.

He has definitely been very lucky.

The teams would like to pay particular thanks to the two walkers who went to the aid of the pilot and remained with him until Mountain Rescue personnel arrived on scene.

They did an exceptional job of keeping the pilot calm and provided him with additional clothing.

We would also like to thank the gamekeeper who transported two Team members up onto the hill on his quad bike.

– Iain Nixon, Northumbrian National Park Mountain Rescue

The crash involved 29 rescuers for eight hours.