TYRONE TOWNSHIP, BLAIR COUNTY - A Pittsburgh man is recovering at Altoona Regional Medical Center after he crashed his glider into a mountain ridge in Blair County on Sunday.
Leslie Dutka took off Sunday morning from Ridge Soaring Gliderport in Julian, Centre County. Investigators said he started his trip with three other pilots.
Sunday afternoon Dutka said something went wrong with his glider, a small one-person operated aircraft. Dutka, whose age or exact hometown was not released, told firefighters he thinks there was a balance problem with the glider.
He ended up crashing into a mountain ridge in the Sinking Valley area, off in a wooded area off of McMullen Road. Dutka was able to find his cell phone and call 911, although he was pinned upside down in the glider between trees and rocks.
Paramedics and members of the Sinking Valley Fire Department were able to locate Dutka thanks to his call and help from the Pennsylvania State Police helicopter. The problem with his rescue was that he was on a steep embankment. Crews had to hike more than a half a mile up the mountain, carrying all of their rescue equipment. The only type of vehicle that could go through the terrain was an ATV.
Once they located Dutka, crews said they were able to get him off the mountain quickly. They said he had already managed to unpin himself from the glider cabin. Besides an ankle injury and a seriously scratched face, Dutka did not have any life threatening injuries.
Records show that a Leslie Dutka from Westmoreland County has a valid glider registration. The Federal Aviation Administration will conduct an investigation into the cause of the crash.
Altoona Regional Medical Center could not release the Dutka's latest condition.