Vladimir Tsarkov goes on his maiden flight as a paraglider and surprises a pair of vultures over the Himalayas – his helmet camera captures the incident dramatically!
The birds look to be White-rumped Vultures (Gyps bengalensis) from the underwing pattern:
The vultures were likely to have been soaring and struggled to manouever out of his way. The lower elevation vulture banks sharply and dives below the paraglider to escape collision.
Paragliding involves “sitting in a harness suspended below a hollow fabric wing whose shape is formed by its suspension lines, the pressure of air entering vents in the front of the wing and the aerodynamic forces of the air flowing over the outside.”
So ironically, Vladimir Tsarkov was soaring, just like the vultures.
Well, the other vulture tried to rise above the paraglider and got entangled in the rig. The aerodynamic surface compromised, he, or rather they, started falling!
See the video, “Paraglider brought down by bird strike over Himalayas,” BBC News Asia, 02 Nov 2011. You’ll like the narrative, presenter was good.
Gyps bengalensis was once possibly the most abundant large bird of prey in the world, but disappeared from most of South-East Asia in the early 20th century. It is now Critically Endangered due to catastrophic decline in the 1990’s primarily due poisoning by the veterinary drug diclofenac as they fed on carcasses of animals treated with the widespread drug.