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Couple Left Dangling After Plane Strikes Zip Line

Ultralight Aircraft Had Been On A Mission To Track Rhino Poachers In South Africa

A couple in their 60s were left dangling some 330 feet in the air after the ultralight airplane they were flying on their anti-rhino poaching patrol in South Africa impacted a zip line and got tangled up in the thrill ride's wire.

The U.K. newspaper The Daily Mail reports that the wire became entangled with a bolt just under the propeller of the Bat Hawk airplane. That left the husband and wife, identified only by their first names Peter and Mary, hanging from the wire in what was described as a "rocket launch" position.

The zip line is part of a theme park and runs through a wilderness area of the Pilanesberg National Park. Riders can reach speeds of up to 100 miles per hour on the attraction. But the dangling airplane was rocking in the wind with temperatures climbing as high as 86 degrees for several hours, according to the report.

 The pair was rescued by Rob Thomas. He climbed down the zip line and was able to extract the couple from the airplane.
 
 The Bat Hawk is used by many game preserves for anti-poaching efforts because of its ability to fly very slowly and quietly. It can take off and land in as little as 90 feet.
 
"Our Bat Hawk, named Mafolodi, flew into the Sun City zip line and the pilot Peter and his wife Mary were rescued and were not injured," said a spokesman for the Pilanesberg National Park. "They were just very very scared. Now they are safe we will rescue Mofalodi."

The pilot of a Bell Jet Ranger 206 was fatally injured in 2011 when he impacted the same zip line while traveling to pick up some friends on a farm near Sun City, according to the report.

(Image posted to Facebook by Mountain Club of SA - Search And Rescue)

FMI: Original report

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