Paragliding accident case of air stunt going wrong?

DARJEELING: Witnesses to the accident in Kalimpong that claimed the life of the pilot and injured a tourist on Saturday said it was a case of a complicated air manoeuvre going wrong.

It’s a normal practice for the pilot to get the best view of the landing space, the air direction and other factors before making the final descend on the ground. For this, the pilot makes a few rounds in the air before landing, but in the case of the Kalimpong incident, witnesses claimed, the pilot was doing some complicated manoeuvres. In doing so, a portion of the glider tore off, forcing the pilot to do an that resulted in the accident.

“It is normal to see gliders in the sky every day because it’s an adventure activity that is booming in Kalimpong. However, when the took place on Saturday, I could see that the pilot was attempting complicated manoeuvre. I was terrified when I saw a portion of the glider’s cloth tearing off. The pilot tried his best to control the damaged glider,” said Bepan Pradhan, a local resident. Some of the local kids, who witnessed the accident, also confirmed this.

The ill-fated glider ride, which took off from Deolo tourist lodge, was supposed to make the landing at the Ronaldsay Park in Graham’s home ground, an aerial journey of about three kilometres. However, it seems the pilot, while making the descend with damaged glider, got entangled in the pine trees and crash-landed on the roof of a house. The pilot, Purushottam Timshina (22) of Nepal’s Pokhara, died on the spot while Gaurav Chowdhury

(34), a tourist from Patna, broke his leg. Chowdhury has been shifted to a hospital in Siliguri.

Kalimpong Paragliding Association (KPA) has, however, denied any negligence on the part of the pilot. “There was no negligence on the part of the pilot or the company he worked for. Even the pilot’s life is at stake once he’s in the air. It is clearly an unfortunate incident,” said KPA secretary Bipen Tamang. The body of the pilot was taken by KPA members till Kakribhitta on Nepal border to be handed to his family.

GTA chairman Binay Tamang issued a statement confirming that paragliding activities in Kalimpong had been stopped. The administration and GTA will conduct a probe and also frame a policy one just like they have done for water rafting.
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