Palampur, March 9
The death of two people, Ghaziabad tourist Akash Aggarwal and co-pilot Rakesh Kumar, in a paragliding accident in Billing yesterday has raised a question mark over the safety of hundreds of tourists visiting Billing. Both were killed when a paraglider crashed last night.
So far, several people have lost their lives in paragliding accidents. State agencies that are responsible for implementing paragliding rules are under the scanner. There is a total ban on flying after 4:30 p.m. due to the low temperature, however, dozens of paragliders can be seen until late in the evening.
The Tribune correspondent went to Bir-Billing today. It was revealed that the pilot, who took off from Billing yesterday, did not have enough experience. In addition, he planned to take off from Billing at 4:30 p.m. when the temperature was low with a bad thermal. It is not recommended to fly in such conditions.
A number of travel agents in Bir told The Tribune that the government had failed to put in place a security mechanism which had made paragliding a risky business. The government should either enforce the rules or ban paragliding.
“Although the Department of Tourism is responsible for enforcing the rules, hardly any officials are ever seen in Billing. Most pilots use outdated paragliding equipment, which leads to fatal accidents. No regular document inspection of pilots and their gliders is carried out,” sources said.
In November, Sandeep Chaudhry of Nagrota was killed during a tandem flight when his safety harness and seat belts came loose in the air.
SDM, Baijnath, Salem Aazam and district tourism manager PP Singh had announced that they would enforce international standards for paragliding. However, in the past four months, not a single meeting has been held with stakeholders for their implementation.
Those who died in 2 years
- In February 2020, 24-year-old Akshya and co-pilot Shyam Lal were killed when their glider crashed near Barot
- A Canadian pilot was killed when his paraglider crashed near Bir. He had no knowledge of the topography of Dhauladhars
- In 2021, Delhi-based pilot Rohit Badhoria went missing. His body was recovered after seven months of snow-capped peaks
- In November, Sandeep Chaudhry died when his harness and body belts came loose in the air
No compliance with standards
It is forbidden to fly after 4:30 p.m. due to low temperatures and bad thermals, however, dozens of paragliders can be seen in the air until late in the evening.