Faith E. Pinho
Los Angeles Times
Well, Santa Claus was coming to town.
A man dressed in full Santa gear had just lifted off from his Rio Linda neighborhood north of Sacramento, intending to shower children below with candy canes. But his paraglider sleigh got caught in some power lines, suspending the man for an hour before firefighters safely lowered him to the ground.
“He was in good enough spirits, considering what happened,” said Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District spokesman Chris Vestal, declining to give the man’s name. “He was disappointed he didn’t get to finish his task.”
A “semi-local celebrity,” the man was headed to a community event when his trip was derailed, Vestal said. The cause of Claus’ incident — perhaps morning fog, wind or faulty directions to the North Pole — remains unclear.
“Could have been any number of factors that could have caused him to become distracted and blown him into the power lines,” Vestal said.
Power was shut off to about 200 people as firefighters worked to extract the jolly old elf from the lines, Vestal said. His seatbelt strapped him to the machine, keeping him from falling out. Firefighters used an aerial ladder to meet the man midair and lower him to safety.
“That was one of those moments that you train for,” said Keith Wade, spokesman for the Sacramento Fire Department. “It’s a complicated and risky type of a rescue because of the charged power lines.”
Vestal said the incident hadn’t sheared any insulation from the cables, so no electricity shocked the man or his aircraft.
“For him to be uninjured to the extent where he walked away, it’s remarkable,” Vestal said.
The supply of candy canes remained intact in the vehicle as well, according to Vestal.
“Couldn’t we have at least had some of those come down?” he joked.
The man’s Rio Linda neighbors heralded the news of his quick recovery as “a Christmas miracle” on a local Facebook forum.
“Rest up, Santa, and thank you for your gliding escapades during this pandemic!” one person wrote.
It’s not the first time Santa Claus was prevented from making the rounds in Sacramento. In 2017, a man got stuck in a chimney while allegedly trying to break into a business.
“Must have been a Grinch!” Vestal said.
You better watch out.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.
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