Crash-Landing in the Himalayas

Paragliding vs. Eagle

As told to Katia Bachko

Money Comment: “Angry birds!”
Star:
Vladimir Tsarkov, 25, of Moscow
Last October, I went to Bir-Billing Valley in India for a month of paragliding. On my first flight, I was 850 feet above the northern Himalayas when two birds that looked like eagles popped up in front of me. Birds rarely hit paragliders, so I decided to stay my course. Big mistake. One got snagged in the lines of my glider, and the entire cupola collapsed. I fell at 23 feet per second for a minute and a half and landed in a shrub. Somehow I was totally fine, just cussing up a storm. I had to calm down before facing the bird, which was still caught in the chute. It flew off as soon as I untangled it. I sent the video from my helmet cam to a friend in Moscow, and she uploaded it to YouTube. All the Russian channels put it on their broadcasts. I was still in India and hadn’t talked to my parents yet; they freaked out when they watched the news.

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