LITCHFIELD – A local man was left clinging to a tree limb more than 70 feet in the air Sunday after a gust of wind blew his powered parachute out of control.

John Beganny, 66, was taken by ambulance to a local hospital with non-life-threatening cuts to his head and face, said Sgt. Scott Taylor of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office.

Beganny was flying his powered parachute — which has a large fan mounted to wheels and a seat — when the crash occurred around 1:45 p.m. near 99 Libby Road, about three miles from Beganny’s home.

Witnesses said Beganny dropped down low just before the accident.

“He waved to them, and as he gunned it to try to get back up it got windy and (that) pushed him over into a tree,” Taylor said.

Beganny hit the tall oak and was knocked out of the parachute’s seat. He dropped a few feet before grabbing a limb, Taylor said. He was clinging to the limb, about 75 feet in the air, when rescuers arrived.

The Gardiner Fire Department used its ladder truck to rescue Beganny. Central Maine Power shut off power to lines in the area, which only affected a few houses, Taylor said.

Dispatchers called the Federal Aviation Administration, but Taylor said they do not intend to investigate the crash.

Beganny’s aircraft was still stuck in the tree Sunday afternoon.

“The Fire Department is trying to figure out what they’re going to do to get it down,” Taylor said. “They’ve talked about getting a crane.”

Beganny’s craft has become a familiar site in the skies around Litchfield.

“He’s been doing this for two years and he does it quite often,” Taylor said. “He’s pretty good with it.”

Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Craig Crosby can be contacted at 621-5642 or at:

[email protected]