A tragic accident in West Bengal would have led to the death of an adventurous tourist if not for the heroic and timely actions of 22-year-old pilot Purushottam Timsina.
Gaurav Chaudhary from Patna was visiting Kalimpong with his friends. On 24 November 2018, he enrolled for a paragliding session. What should have been a wonderful memory turned into a tragedy.
When the flight took off from Deolo Tourist Lodge, initially, everything seemed just fine. Purushottam and Gaurav were enjoying the peaceful flight when something went terribly wrong.
Just seconds after the flight took off, a cord snapped, sending the paragliders into a wild spiral.
Gaurav was capturing the flight in a video, and you can see how Purushottam instinctively held on to Gaurav right when the cord snapped. The parachute was spinning downward uncontrollably, and in such a situation, anyone would have lost their practical senses.
But not the pilot.
He held on to Gaurav tightly even as the duo hit the ground hard.
He even did his best in controlling the parachute with the other cord.
The fall could have gone either way, and none could have presumed how it would have ended.
But Purushottam’s presence of mind shows him holding on to the tourist.
It is presumed that this saved Gaurav’s life.
Purushottam succumbed to his injuries after the disastrous fall, while Gaurav managed to escape with a broken leg.
Gaurav’s friends have lodged a complaint against the organisers and officials are investigating whether all required safety measures were taken before and during the flight.
Even so, Purushottam’s heroic and instinctive actions to protect Gaurav as they were both spiralling towards certain death are commendable.
The video, shot by Gaurav and posted on Facebook, captures the entire incident. Before you watch it, please beware that it has graphics and possibly disturbing visuals
Often during tragic times like these, we see courageous people with a presence of mind stepping up. Take, for instance, the pilots who flew their plane into an empty under-construction site in the heart of Mumbai when it went out of control as opposed to a busy residential area.
In another incident, two Air India pilots saved over 370 lives when multiple systems in their flights failed.
Even as we the system failures are tragic, we commend the bravery of the heroes who risk their lives to save others.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)