Woman, 26, crashes to death in paragliding accident in Himalayan town

Take off on a tandem glide over Ölüdeniz’s cobalt waters (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A 26-year-old woman from India’s southern Telangana state died in a horrific paragliding accident in Himachal Pradesh on Sunday.

Police said the accident took place in Kullu town due to the failure of the pilot to properly secure her safety belt.

The 26-year-old woman fell from the height of about 250m during the flight, Press Trust of India reported.

Times of India identified the tourist by her first name, Navya, from Zahirabad in Sangareddy district of Telangana.

A senior local official Sunaina Sharma said investigations suggested that a “human error” led to the accident. The pilot has been arrested following the incident.

Rajeev Lakhanpal, the officer in charge, stated that pilot Rahul Singh hails from Lalot village, located in Multhan tehsil of Kangra district, and the paraglider is owned by one Ghanshyam Negi.

Police have registered a case against both of them.

The local police said that the tourist’s paragliding harness gave way mid-air, minutes after she took off in a tandem flight.

Despite the pilot being registered and the equipment being approved, the tragedy was attributed to human error.

India Today reported that she fell on the roof of a house and died instantly.

A postmortem was conducted at the Regional Hospital in Kullu, and the body was returned to her family.

A magistrate inquiry is underway, and an FIR has been filed.

Paragliding activities in Dobhi village in Kullu in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, where the accident occurred, have been temporarily suspended by the authorities.

Paragliding demands rigorous safety measures, including proper training for pilots, thorough equipment checks, and strict safety harness procedures. Observers note that the accident also raises questions about the regulation of adventure sports, particularly in tourist-heavy areas like Himachal Pradesh.

On 24 December 2022, a 30-year-old tourist from Maharashtra, Suraj Shah, lost his life when his harness failed just after takeoff during a tandem flight near Dobhi village in Kullu.

Another tragedy struck on 15 June 2022 when Aditya Sharma, 20, from Ambala in Punjab and his pilot, 24-year-old local Krishan Gopal, died in a paragliding accident close to the launch area in Dobhi.

Himachal Pradesh offers several paragliding sites: Bir Billing, Solang Valley, Bandla Dhar, Junga near Shimla and Pabbar Valley among others.

Bir Billing hosted the Paragliding World Cup in 2015.