A paragliding pilot died while the tourist under his care suffered injuries after their paraglider snapped in mid-air during a flight in Kalimpong, West Bengal.
Indian tourist Gaurav Choudhary, who was using a selfie stick during the flight, captured the terrifying moment when they started plummeting to the ground after a harness strap of the glider broke midair.
The pilot, identified as Nepalese Purushottam Timsina, was shown on the footage desperately grabbing hold on to Choudhary as they spun out of control.
Reports indicate that the 22-year-old pilot’s actions might have shielded Choudhary and saved him from what appeared to be certain death.
At the beginning of the video, the 32-year-old tourist from Patna can be seen enjoying the flight.
Choudhary’s expression immediately turned into horror after the paraglider broke and began its rapid descent.
Just seconds later, the pair got entangled in the pine trees and crash-landed on the rooftop of a house. The video ends with a part of the para glider seen drifting away in the sky. Timsina died on the spot while Choudhary suffered severe injuries, including a broken leg.
Choudhary’s friends, who were with him on the Kalimpong trip, filed a police complaint against the organizers.
“Organisers ignored even basic safety measures. The pilot was not even wearing a helmet,” a friend was quoted as saying.
Some witnesses have stated that the strap broke because the pilot had attempted a complicated air maneuver, Times of India reports.
“I could see that the pilot was attempting complicated maneuver. 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,” local resident Bepan Pradhan said.
The Kalimpong Paragliding Association (KPA) has since issued a statement denying negligence on the part of the pilot and the company he was working for.
Meanwhile, the Kalimpong police department, which registered the incident as an unnatural
death case, is currently investigating the incident.