Paragliding in Oslob suspended after foreigner's death

·3 min read

THE paragliding activity in Sitio Canan-aw, Barangay Poblacion, Oslob town, southern Cebu has been suspended.

Maria Lester "Marty" Ybañez, head of the Cebu Provincial Tourism Office, said the suspension was made following an incident Sunday morning, May 15, that claimed that life of American paraglider Peter Clifford Humes, 63, an education and safety director of Paraglide Tandem International, which has branches in New Jersey, USA and Bangkok, Thailand.

According to Ybañez, pilot error caused Humes' death based on an initial investigation by the police.

"Ang ila ra gyud nga makita as of now, pilot error gyud siya kay kato gud siya ang mo accredit for you to become a guide or a teacher or trainor for paragliding," said Ybañez on Monday, May 16.

But Staff Sergeant Nelson Saquibal of Oslob Police Station said that the victim died of cerebral hemorrhage based on the medical records from Oslob District Hospital, where Humes was brought after the incident.

Humes took off the mountain 70 feet above ground level on a foggy weather condition, with other paragliding players in the area, but he encountered trouble while on air around 10 a.m. Sunday.

Upon landing, he was immediately rescued and brought to the Oslob District Hospital, where he expired.

The Oslob Police Station and the Cebu Police Provincial Office (CPPO) are now conducting an investigation on the incident.

It was learned that the paragliding operator in the town has upgraded their equipment to make it safe for use, especially that tourists are starting to arrive in the area now that the municipality has been placed under the more relaxed quarantine status, which is Alert Level 1, starting May 16, 2022.

Colonel Engelbert Soriano, head of CPPO, said there was a possibility that the victim lost control when he tested the flying gear and fell 70 feet from above the ground level due to strong winds and the fog in the upper part of the mountain.

“To see for himself na airworthy yung mga paragliding equipment tinest nya, unfortunately hindi nya siguro masyadong na notice medyo poor ang visibility sa area that time,” Soriano said.

(He tried the airworthiness of the paragliding equipment, unfortunately, he probably did not notice the poor visibility in the area at that time.)

Soriano said they will subject the American national to an autopsy after getting permission from his relatives to ascertain what exactly caused his death.

Humes arrived in the country to assist in the development and assessment of paragliding activity of Oslob Paragliding Development, which is operated by a certain Tito Rendon.

On the first day of his mission, Humes conducted an ocular inspection and lecture for the paragliders. On the second day, he again conducted a lecture and observed the paragliding activity there. On the third day, Sunday, Humes showed off his skills with other paragliding teams in the area.

“He was really here to help, he was inspecting what particular areas in paragliding that needed improvement,” tourism officer Ybañez said.

"It was just painful that instead of helping he met an accident," she added.

Rendon, owner of the paragliding area, contacted Humes’ wife and informed her regarding the incident. She also promised to help transport the victim’s body to Bangkok.

The wife cried over the phone and planned to go to Oslob to see his dead husband.

Rendon said they will temporarily close the area to pave way for an investigation. (ANV, AYB, GDC, TPT)

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