An Illawarra paraglider has been rescued from the treetops in Balgownie more than four hours after he crashed on Wednesday afternoon.
Wombarra's Tony Armstrong, who works at Hangglide Oz, got into trouble shortly after he took off from Bald Hill in Stanwell Tops in the hope of making a long distance flight to Berry.
The experienced hang glider landed in a large gum tree close to Tucker Avenue about 2pm.
Emergency service crews rushed to the scene and made a plan to free Mr Armstrong, who was conscious, breathing and uninjured, from his predicament.
More than a dozen emergency service workers from SES, Police Rescue, Wollongong Police, Fire and Rescue, Ambulance NSW and an arborist, used ropes to winch Mr Armstrong down from his 35-metre high perch.
The SES arborist arrived about 3.30pm and climbed the tree.
Illawarra Police Rescue Sergeant Richard Walsh said the complex extraction was only the second of its type the squad had completed in about six years.
"The most difficult part was getting a skilled arborist from the SES to get above him, create a roping system and lower him down," Sgt Walsh said.
"It is simple in concept but actually getting up there was fairly complex and a fairly risky operation.
"We were able to attach ropes to a high point, attach him in his existing harness and lower him on a two-rope system down to us."
Sgt Walsh said the paraglider got caught in a draft that pushed him a long way off course.
"The man was lucky he was able to deploy his chute and that it got caught up in the canopy," he said.
"If it hadn't got caught in the canopy then it was a long drop.
"He had a rough trot but he was lucky to come out uninjured. It could have been a lot worse."
Resident Kyla Wynn was out walking with her partner when she noticed the paraglider flying low just above the trees.
"We thought it was very unusual to have a paraglider flying over Balgownie as it is all bushland," she said.
"As we kept watching, he got lower and then all of a sudden we saw his second chute deployed and that's when we knew he was in trouble and we watched him drop very quickly.
"We came racing over the hill and we found him in the top of the trees."
The couple yelled out to him to make sure he was alright.
Ms Wynn ran home to call emergency services and her partner walked into the bush to stay with the man.
"We knew he was OK and when I came back he said he had come down from Stanwell Park," she said.
"Emergency services were here within two to three minutes."
Ambulance NSW Illawarra Inspector Terry Morrow said Mr Armstrong was "very appreciative" of the emergency service workers' effort.
"The man was cooperative during the rescue," he said.
"He informed us of his ability as he was an experienced kite flyer which assisted us because he knew what we were doing with our roping techniques."
"This man has been fortunate."
Mr Morrow did say Mr Armstrong was in good spirits but felt embarrassed by the rescue operation.
Meanwhile, shortly before 6pm, rescuers were told there was a bushfire nearby.
They found a small blaze along a fire trail off Doonan Place and were able to control the flames before Balgownie Fire and Rescue bridge arrived to quickly extinguish it.
The fire had burnt out an area of bush about 5 metres by 5 metres, in the space of minutes.
A 20-year-old man was arrested and charged with lighting a fire.
A police spokeswoman said the man had been issued with a court attendance notice.
"Bail conditions and court details are still be confirmed," she said.