Dharamsala: A 70-year-old Polish paraglider pilot named Andrzej Kulawik is currently missing after taking off on a solo flight from Bir-Billing on Monday. His intended landing in Dharamshala didn’t occur as scheduled, and efforts to locate him are underway.
According to Shalini Agnihotri, the Senior Superintendent of Police in Kangra, there have been reports from locals suggesting that the missing pilot might be located in the vicinity of the Kareri area near the Dhauladhar mountains. This remote region is where some locals reported seeing him flying over Kareri village.
One of the main challenges in this search and rescue operation is that Andrzej Kulawik doesn’t speak or understand English, Hindi, or any local languages. Despite this difficulty, both aerial and ground search and rescue operations are ongoing in an attempt to locate him.
The pilot’s daughter, Alicja Kulawik, has reached out to the paragliding community in Bir-Billing and Dharamshala for help in finding her father. She has posted information about her father and his paraglider on social media platforms and has asked anyone who might have seen him or his landing to come forward with information.
This incident follows a paragliding accident last Friday in which a 29-year-old pilot from Lucknow, Abhiuday Verma, tragically lost his life after taking off from Billing.
Additionally, earlier in the same week, another foreign paraglider was forced to make an emergency landing in a remote village in Bharmour in Chamba district, located on the other side of the Dhauladhar snow range.
Bir-Billing, known as one of the world’s premier paragliding sites, is presently preparing for the Paragliding Pre-World Cup, scheduled to take place from October 26 to November 2.
Nearly 160 participants from 28 countries have registered to participate in the tournament being jointly organised by Billing Paragliding Association (BPA) and the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) .
Arvind Sharma is an award winning bi-lingual journalist with more than 20 years of experience.
He has worked with Divya Himachal, Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhasker, Vir Partap, Ajit and PTI.
In 2010, he was conferred the Himachal Kesri journalism award. He reports on the Tibetan Government in Exile, politics, sports, tourism and other topics. He lives in Dharamshala.