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Posted at: Dec 7, 2018, 12:47 AM; last updated: Dec 7, 2018, 12:47 AM (IST)

Paragliding accidents at Billing to be probed afresh

Paragliding accidents at Billing to be probed afresh

Lalit Mohan

Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, December 6

The Aero Sports Club of India, a government-affiliated body, has marked an inquiry into the paraglider accidents that had happened at Bir Billing. In October before the India Open Paragliding Championship 2018, two international paragliders lost their lives and four sustained serious injuries due to accidents.

SDM, Baijnath, Vikas Shukla, who is also the chairman of the Special Area Development Authority (SADA) that controls paragliding events, admitted that an inquiry had been marked.

A 10-member committee had been formed that includes international paragliding pilots. The committee will look into the reasons for the accidents. The committee would prepare a report and hand it over to the state government as well as the club, which would then frame rules to check accidents. Shukla said an inquiry was also conducted by SADA. It was found that the Singapore paraglider did not have experience to fly in high-altitude areas and lost control. The NRI pilot from Australia had advanced paragliding equipment but he was not trained to handle it, he said.

A proposal had been mooted to install radio repeaters at various places in the valley. Many times pilots lose communication with the ground control centre. If the radio repeaters are installed, they can remain in touch with the ground command centre and take an advice from experts. This can reduce the chances of accidents.

Helicopter with a winch is mandatory for carrying out rescue operations. However, at Bir Billing, no helicopter is available at the site. On October 23, Singapore paraglider Kok Chang (53), former army commando, died in an accident while pargliding. Kok Chang was free flyer and had gone missing in the Dhauladhars.

An Australian citizen Sanjay Kumar Ramdas Devarkonda died after a crash landing in Jogindergar. The paraglider of a Spanish pilot Jos Lewis had crashed in the hills but was rescued. He could be rescued after five days as the authorities were not sure of his location. The Spanish paraglider survived with minor injuries. Two other pilots, including a Russian and Latavian ,had also sustained injuries in crashes.

Bir Billing ranked among the top 10 paragliding sites.

2 international pilots died in Sept

  • On October 23, Singapore paraglider Kok Chang (53), former army commando, died while pargliding

  • An Australian citizen died after a crash-landing in Jogindergar

  • The paraglider of a Spanish pilot Jos Lewis had crashed in the hills. He could be rescued after five days as the authorities were not sure of his location. He escaped with minor injuries

  • Two pilots a Russian and Latavian had also sustained injuries in crashes

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