Unidentified paraglider: IAF asks police to investigate

The Indian Air Force (IAF) authorities have asked the Chatuhshrungi police station to look into an "unauthorised" paragliding incident which took place on December 25, reportedly in Kamshet area. The unidentified paragliding is said to have taken place at 12.40 pm when a helicopter flying from Alibaug to Arki reportedly spotted a paraglider at a distance of 5 nautical miles during its flight.

In early December, another helicopter flying between Baramati and Pune had spotted a paraglider flying at about 1,000 feet.

The incident has once again highlighted the missing framework for the operation of aero-sports activities within a particular air space. According to sources at Airport police station, the police received a letter from IAF authorities on December 26. A police officer said, "There are times when paragliders inform the IAF authorities about their flying. But when the IAF is not informed, they approach us for investigation. In reality, we do not have the wherewithal to investigate the cases except for inquiring."

Interestingly, Eric Menezes, a veteran and internationally acclaimed paraglider, has been summoned by Chatushrungi police to record a statement for this case. "I received a call from the IAF police who went to Kamshet after they spotted the paragliders. I told them that I was at home with my family celebrating Christmas. A couple of days ago, I received a call from Chatuhshrungi police, asking to come to the police station on Thursday to give a statement. I am clueless about why am I being dragged into this," Menezes told The Indian Express.

The city has about five to six paragliding clubs concentrated in Kamshet and Kanifnath. Kamshet is crucial as here flights operating between Mumbai and Pune start descending. Cases of unidentified paragliders come up in this area when helicopters flying here inform Senior Air Traffic Control Officer (SATCO) of IAF Station, Lohegaon, about such paragliders.

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