All Paragliding Activities Suspended In Sabah Following Incident

The suspension of paragliding activities in Sabah for a fortnight is to facilitate authorities to conduct proper investigations in the wake of an incident involving a tourist from China recently.

KOTA KINABALU – In the wake of a recent involving a foreign tourist in Ranau, Sabah, all paragliding activities in the State will be suspended for at least 14 days, said Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Datuk Christina Liew.

A 64-year old tourist from China was injured while paragliding at Kampung Lohan in Ranau last month, sparking calls for a review of standard operating procedures for such activities.

The Minister said the suspension was intended to allow authorities to investigate, according to a report in Overseas Chinese Daily News.

Measures To Ensure Safer Paragliding Activities

Meanwhile, several measures have been proposed to ensure paragliding activities would be safer in Sabah. Among these is for the operations of companies involved in such accidents to be suspended for at least 14 days.

“This is to facilitate the authorities to conduct proper investigation,” Liew added.

“The local authorities must also monitor activities that involve tourists are carried out according to the enforced rules. The Ministry views the safety of tourists in Sabah seriously,” she added.

These measures were recommended in a special meeting initiated by the state tourism ministry on Wednesday (8 May).

It involved other ministries and departments such as the state Local Government and Housing Ministry, state Youth and Sports Ministry, federal Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry, State Attorney-General’s Chambers, police, Sabah Tourism Board, Ranau District Office and Sabah Paragliding Association (PLUS).

Liew said PLUS was also urged to hold discussions with the Malaysian Sport Aviation Federation (MSAF) in order to refine the guidelines for paragliding activities in Sabah.

Among the factors to be considered, she added, were the competency levels of the paragliding guides, equipment, take off and landing locations, weather and readiness of safety facilities in the vicinity.

SOP For Paragliding

“Any standard operating procedure (SOP) for paragliding must be approved by the authorities.

“The meeting was also informed that there would be several events that involved paragliding activities such as the Sonsoluyon Paragliding Accuracy Championship which is scheduled for 25 May and 26 May.

Meanwhile, MSAF has announced the temporary closure of all paragliding flying sites in Sabah, effective immediately.

Msaf President, Mohd Nurhaqimy Today Announced the Temporary Closure of All Paragliding Flying Sites in Sabah.
MSAF President Mohd Nurhaqimy today announced the temporary closure of all paragliding flying sites in Sabah

Its President, Mohd Nurhaqimy Mohd Ismail (Qimy) announced in a statement today that this decision was made in line with the announcement by Datuk Christina Liew in the interest of public safety,

During this period of closure, Malaysia Sports Aviation Federation (MSAF) through Sports Aviation Operation (SAO) department led by First Officer Zil Syamil, will be conducting a comprehensive review of the site’s infrastructure, safety protocols, safety risk assessments, insurance compliance and standard operational procedures together under the purview of local authorities.

“The goal is to identify areas for improvement and implement measures that will enhance the safety and enjoyment of paragliding for all.

“Only operators that comply to SAO requirements will be awarded the Sports Aviation Operator Certificate (SAOC),” Qimy added.

Participants are encouraged to verify that both the Operator and Pilots possess the necessary qualifications and authorisation (SAOC for operators, and MSAF issued T2 or T3 license for pilots) to conduct joyrides before engaging their services.

Updates

“We are committed to keeping the public informed throughout this process and will provide updates on our progress and any changes to the status of all flying sites in Sabah. Additionally, we encourage members of the paragliding community to share their feedback and suggestions as we work towards reopening the sites in a safe and responsible manner.

“Malaysia Sports Aviation Federation (MSAF) is a governing body for sports Aviation in Malaysia under the Ministry of Youth and Sports. It is MSAF’s responsibility to make sure all sports aviation activities are carried out safely and comply with all rules and regulations,” said Qimy. – NMH

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