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South Korean paraglider crashes to death in Maharashtra

South Korean paraglider crashes to death in Maharashtra
The police have registered a case of negligence against one of the organisers from a Mumbai-based company.

A South Korean professional paraglider was killed when his glider crashed and hit a stony hillside in Panchgani, a police official said on Wednesday. The incident occurred on Tuesday after the paraglider, identified as Sang Taek Oh, 45, took off in his glider from Rajpuri Point on the outskirts of the hill station, said R.N. Kaple, an officer with the Panchgani Police.

"According to the information received, owing to some strong wind, his glider went out of control and instead of reaching the landing point, it fell into the forest areas. The victim may have hit a rock wall on the hills and died," a Kaple told IANS. A local rescue team reached the valley and searched for Sang and after several hours rushed him to the Wai hospital, around 27 km away, with serious head injuries. He was declared dead on admission, the officer added.

Sang had come to participate in an international solo-paragliding competition that opened on Tuesday. He was on a trail ride when the tragedy struck. The victim's body was handed over to the South Korean consulate after the autopsy. The police have registered a case of negligence against one of the organisers from a Mumbai-based company.

Vishal Gaikwad, President of the Panchgani Paragliding & Adventure Sports Association, said the solo paragliding competition attracted over 100 participants from all over the world this year and it was scheduled to continue till Sunday. "However, after the tragedy, it is not clear if the competition will be permitted. The government is finalising the regulations for restarting the popular tandem paragliding -- meant for two persons. It is expected to be announced shortly. If given the go-ahead, the sport will resume after five years," Gaikwad told IANS.

An increasingly popular adventure-cum-recreational sport, paragliding is permitted in several hill resorts and tourist destinations in Maharashtra and across India, both for professionals and amateurs or tourists.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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