An experimental glider crashed into a grove of trees at Crystal Airport near Palmdale on Sunday afternoon, severely injuring its pilot, a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy said.
Hanes Linke, 55, whose address is unknown, was flown by helicopter to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills with two fractured legs and chest injuries, a hospital spokesperson said. He was listed in critical but stable condition Sunday night.
The accident occurred about 1 p.m., shortly after takeoff, said Sheriff's Deputy Steve Gutierrez. Witnesses told investigators the glider's right wing was flopping up and down while it was being towed in the air by a plane.
"When they released him, he did an immediate right-hand turn into a spiral and fell approximately 700 feet to the ground," Gutierrez said.
No other injuries were reported and the glider sustained heavy damage, Gutierrez said.