Ban On Paragliding Flights At Himachal’s Bir Billing

Shimla May, 13: The state Tourism Department imposed ban on all tandem flights following rising paragliding accidents and crashing of over 10 gliders in the past two months in Billing and Bir. Jagan Thakur, Deputy Director, Tourism Department, and Inspector Sanjay Sharma conducted a surprise raid at the paragliding take off point in Billing and seized the licences of all pilots who were operating tandem flights.

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Thakur directed them not to fly till the clearance was granted to them by the department. Talking to media persons, Thakur said the verification of licences, insurance documents and experience papers could take some time, that’s why the state government had decided to suspend all tandem flights from Monday.

He said he had received reports that a number of pilots were operating without documents, overcharging the tourists and had no experience, resulting in fatal mishaps. Thakur said the department would also inquire into the recent glider mishap, in which tourists were seriously injured. He said only experienced pilots would be allowed to fly.

In the past month, over 10 gliders have crashed at different places in Kangra and adjoining Mandi districts, injuring 10 persons. Several organisations and victims’ parents had demanded a complete ban on tandem flights at Billing.

Billing in Kangra district is among the top 10 paragliding sites in the world. The place has regularly been hosting the prestigious Paragliding World Cup every year in October. But due to lack of rules to govern the sport, it has started courting controversies.