Woman dies after falling 10m while paragliding in Taiwan
While paragliding in Taiwan, a woman fell from a height of about 10m to her death, reportedly due to an equipment malfunction.
According to local media, the 27-year-old woman, surnamed Hsiao, had travelled to Hualien county in the morning of Nov 18 from her home county of Chiayi.
Hualien, Taiwan’s biggest county, is home to several scenic attractions, and is a popular travel destination for both locals and tourists.
Ms Hsiao had registered for a tandem flight with an instructor surnamed Yeh, reported Taiwan News. In tandem paragliding, a passenger flies in tandem with a single pilot. Ms Hsiao had reportedly paraglided before and had visited the same location previously. This trip was arranged to introduce her boyfriend and best friend to the activity.
About a minute into the flight, the safety buckle on Ms Hsiao’s harness failed and it disconnected, causing her to fall out of her harness from a height of about 10 metres. She landed near the 37km marker of the coastal Provincial Highway 11, where she died immediately on impact.
The Hualien county government has formed a team to investigate the incident. Mr Yeh has been questioned by prosecutors and was released on bail on Nov 19.
The operator of the paragliding company told PTS Taiwan News that Mr Yeh found that the buckle was loose during the flight and tried to make an emergency landing, but Ms Hsiao fell while he was attempting the move. It added that Mr Yeh had a licence to paraglide and had more than 30 years of experience in the field.
The operator of the paragliding company had continued to publish advertisements on its Facebook page on the day of the accident. However, an investigation by the county government revealed that the operator did not have an approved business licence, and ordered it to cease operations.