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Nepal Mountain Focus

Pilots operating flights sans license behind fatal paragliding accidents

Paragliding in Nepal. photo: File photo
Paragliding in Nepal. photo: File photo

KATHMANDU, Nepal – Pilots and the operators opt for the adventure sport but find it boring to acquire license resulting fatal accidents in the paragliding sector.

Though more than 18 years have passed since paragliding began, the government is yet to set up any system to provide licenses to the paragliding pilots.

More than a hundred paragliding pilots are still flying from alone at Sarangkot in Pokhara, a main spot for paragliding in the country. And entrepreneurs themselves admitted that they were lured for lucre.

Officials say that the government was yet to begin the process for providing license to the paragliding pilots.

With this vacuum of procedures, many national and foreign pilots were flying with licenses from foreign countries. But there is no regulatory body that would verify the authenticity of such licenses.

The result is the fatal accidents that killed paragliders. Recently on December 7 a South Korean national Young Min Sam, 43, was killed in Pokhara. Before that, 70 year-old Malaysian Peter, German national Christoph Andreas, 26 and Russian national Kiddi Askin Alexander were killed in 2010. Before that A French national was killed while paragliding in Palpa some 16 years ago with more than 20 people suffered injuries in paragliding accidents in last 18 years.

After the international media included Sarangkot as top destination for paragliding, number of both national and foreigners visiting the place for paragliding surged recently.

As many as 19 companies are into paragliding business in Pokhara and some 60 professional and 160 non-professional pilots make paragliding flights daily.

Meanwhile, a Himalayan Times report quoted Narayan Parajuli, proprietor of Blue Sky Paragliding Private Limited saying that most of the solo pilots were operating without any license.

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