A paragliding coach died, and a passenger was injured, after snagging power lines and falling around 20 meters to the ground in Wanrong Township, Hualien County this morning, February 10.
Shortly after 8:00am, 57-year-old paragliding operator Wang Tian-ming (王田明) launched a tandem flight with a 25-year-old male Chinese tourist named Tao (陶) in what are described in media reports as windy and foggy conditions.
Shortly before 8:30am, the paraglider canopy snagged high-voltage power lines around 30 meters above a betel nut plantation, and Wang and Tao were left suspended at a height of around 20 meters. According to statements by Tao, Wang cut the suspension lines, sending the pair plummeting to the ground.
When firefighters located the pair in the betel nut plantation, Wang had lost vital signs, and Tao was suffering back pain and had difficulty moving his limbs.
Both men were put onto spinal backboards and rushed to Fenglin Veterans Hospital. Wang did not respond to resuscitation efforts and was declared dead at the hospital. Tao is suspected of suffering spinal injuries, but remained conscious, and his condition is not considered life-threatening.
Preliminary investigations suggest that windy and foggy conditions led to a misjudgment in height, and distance to the landing zone.
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