Witnesses recount daring rescue attempt for paraglider Rupert Cebular in Wallkill River

Two witnesses spoke with News 12 to recount the daring rescue effort for paraglider Rupert Cebular, 47, who plummeted to his death Wednesday in Orange County. (12/5/13)

NEW HAMPTON - Two witnesses spoke with News 12 to recount the daring rescue effort for paraglider Rupert Cebular, 47, who plummeted to his death Wednesday in Orange County.

The men, who didn't want to be shown on camera, say Cebular and his friend Benoist Bruneau, 43, were flying over the Wallkill River in New Hampton Wednesday afternoon when they noticed Cebular break through the frozen river and fall into the water face first.

They say Bruneau was desperately trying to get his friend out when they got there. An autopsy is being done to determine exactly how he died. State police say it appears he was practicing a touch-and-go maneuver when he crashed.

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Police say the paragliding ride began at Randall Airport, where the owner says the pair had successfully taken off from at least a half a dozen times before in recent months.

Cebular was an entrepreneur from New York City. He owned a specialty bike shop called "NyceWheels."

His friend, Bruneau, of Queens, is the owner and head instructor of a company called "Lets-go-Paragliding," according to this website.

Police say Bruneau was treated for hypothermia and went home Wednesday. 

For extended interviews on attempted rescue of paraglider from Wallkill River, watch the clip to the left or click News 12 Extra on Optimum TV channel 612. 

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