Retd IAF officer’s wife killed in Bir paragliding mishap : The Tribune India

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Retd IAF officer’s wife killed in Bir paragliding mishap

Ritu Chopra was a regular flier and an experienced pilot

Retd IAF officer’s wife killed in Bir paragliding mishap


Ravinder Sood

Palampur, April 7

A solo paragliding pilot, Ritu Chopra (54), was killed when her paraglider lost its way in the high hills of the Dhauladhar range because of strong turbulence and crashed near the Bir Golf Course this evening. She was taken to Civil Hospital, Baijnath, where she was declared brought dead.

Wife of a retired IAF officer, Wing Commander Ashutosh Chandera, Ritu Chopra was a resident of Gautam Budh Nagar, Noida. She had been living in Bir for the last one year with her husband in a rented accommodation. Information gathered revealed that she was a regular flier and an experienced pilot.

Many paragliding-related mishaps have taken place at Bir Billing in the past because most of the pilots are not aware of the difficult topography of the Dhauladhar hills and the fast-changing climate here.

The rising number of fatal paragliding mishaps at Bir Billing in the past few months has raised a question mark over the safety and security of pilots and tourists keen on the adventure sport.

SDM Baijnath, officials of the Tourism Department, Baijnath, and members of the Bir-Billing Paragliding Association (BPA), have held various meetings with the stakeholders in this regard. It was decided to enforce international SOPs laid down for paragliding. As per the SOPs, no inexperienced pilot should be allowed to fly solo or tandem flights. The BPA and the Tourism Department also sought the cooperation of the other paragliding associations at Bir-Billing. “If safety parameters are followed properly by the pilots, the number of mishaps can be reduced drastically,” president of BPA Anurag Sharma said.

“Flying in high-altitude areas without the required experience can be dangerous. Most mishaps occur as pilots lack experience. The Tourism Department should implement stricter rules,” said Sharma.

The failure of the state government to put in place a safety mechanism has made paragliding a risky affair at Bir-Billing. The death of three pilots from Russia, Poland and Lucknow during Paragliding World Cup Championship last year has already brought a bad name to the adventure sport here.

#Indian Air Force #Palampur #Paragliding


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