A FIRST-TIME parachutist who found himself stuck in a tree for more than three hours has thanked the “amazing” rescue team who got him safely back to the ground.
Pracheen Gemawat, 21, remarkably said he never panicked despite realising he was drifting miles away from where he should have landed after his parachute ropes got twisted 3,500 feet in the air.
With Shotton Airfield nowhere in sight, Pracheen, a psychology and sport science student at Northumbria University, spotted another field below him and decided to attempt to land there.
But as the wind picked up he lost control slightly and within seconds he was stuck 60ft above the ground at the top of a tree in Peterlee town centre, sparking a rescue which involved 38 firefighters from around the region.
“It was all my own fault, I know that,” said Pracheen, who is originally from Mumbai, in India, but moved to Newcastle in 2010 for his studies.
“When I realised my ropes were twisted I quickly tried to address that problem and within a few moments I had lost my bearings.
“But I never panicked, I was really calm all of the way down.
“If somebody else had been in that situation and they were telling me about it I would have thought I would have panicked so much in that situation, but even though I knew it wasn’t going to plan I was fine.
“Even when I landed in the tree I was actually laughing to myself at the situation I had found myself in.”
Pracheen said he felt embarrassed and guilty by the sheer size of the rescue effort, which also included a specialist rope rescue team.
“I felt really guilty for wasting so much of their time,” added Pracheen, who lives in Heaton.
“But they were absolutely amazing.
“I had been stuck for a long time and it was getting really uncomfortable but the firefighters were cracking jokes and helping me feel at ease.”
Pracheen booked the skydive with Peterlee Parachute Centre with one of his pals who is moving to London and the two wanted to take on some daring challenges.
And despite the problems on Friday’s dive, Pracheen insists it won’t put him off doing it again.
“I would definitely love to do it again,” he said.
“But hopefully if I get chance to do it again I won’t spend three hours stuck in a tree.”