A PARACHUTIST who sparked an emergency rescue operation after he became trapped in a tree is set to apper on TV.
Student Pracheen Gemawatt has been interviewed for BBC1 day-time show Real Rescues, focussing on the work to rescue him after his parachute became entangled in a tree in the middle of Peterlee last month.
The 21-year-old, from Mumbai in India, had jumped from Shotton Airfield, where instructors were horrified to see him vanish into the distance.
Firefighters had to draft in a special rope rescue team from Cleveland Fire Brigade, who abseiled down from an aerial platform to rescue Pracheen.
Pracheen, who is studying in Newcastle, was making his first jump, but said he was full of confidence.
He tried to land on a patch of grass in the middle of the town, but overshot and found himself caught in the tree.
But even after spending three hours precariously hanging from its branches, Pracheen admitted he had not realised how serious the situation was at the time.
It was only when he was reunited with university buddy Eanna Flanagan, who was also set to take part in the jump, that the true nature of his lucky escape began to sink in.
“He was just so worried – for two hours, he did not know what had happened to me. He thought I was really seriously injured. When he saw me he was so happy. I saw the smile on his face and how relieved he was and that’s when it hit me, that it could have been much, much worse.”
Shielded by the trees from what was happening on the ground, Pracheen admitted he had been unaware of the scale of the rescue operation.
“I couldn’t see much,” he said. It was only when I saw the video, that’s when I realised there were so many people there for me. It was so embarrassing – I just want to say ‘Thank you’ to everybody.”