SILIGURI, 28 APRIL: Sailendra Nath Roy was famous in these areas as the Guinness world record holder; on 1 March, 2011, he entered the record books by travelling 82.50 metres ((270 feet) on a zip wire using his hair at Neemrana Fort Palace in Neemrana, Rajasthan. Today, while attempting to cross the Coronation bridge over the Tessta river at Savoke ~ a distance of around 600 feet ~ on a wire by using his tuft of hair, he died.
47-year-old Roy, a resident of Desh Bandhu Para in Siliguri, had traversed some distance along the wire that was tied 70 feet above the water level when he got stuck. Despite the best of his efforts, he could move no further. He remained hanging there for around 45 minutes, while locals and his teammates tried to bring him down in vain. After some time, a driver of a Sikkim-bound vehicle managed to bring him down and took him to a Siliguri hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.
The incident raises questions regarding the lack of adequate safety measures during the stunt. According to sources, the fire brigade ~ the most crucial factor in the safety net ~ was not present during the stunt.
“It shows how negligent the administration was, even during such a big event. Roy was hanging there for 45 minutes, but there was no help from the police or civil administration. No rescue team or disaster management team was deployed for an emergency. One expects proper arrangement from the administration, especially when a Guinness record holder was performing a stunt,” said Ms Ankita Arora, an eyewitness and a resident of Siliguri.
When asked to comment on the incident, a senior Darjeeling police officer said they came to know about it this morning. “We came to know about the event in the morning from Siliguri police,
but did not have enough time to arrange for safety measures. If the Siliguri police had informed us on time, we could have taken all necessary measures,” said the officer. The incident occurred at Savoke, which comes under the jurisdiction of Darjeeling police.
Siliguri police commissioner Mr K Jayaraman refused to comment on the matter.
Hundreds of people had thronged the Coronation Bridge to watch the stunt. Doctors said Roy might have died of heart attack. The record holder is survived by wife, two sons and a daughter. Last year, he pulled the toy train with his tuft, and his death has shocked many in the town.
Darjeeling District Magistrate Soumitra Mohan said it was very unfortunate that Roy had not taken official permission for the event. North Bengal Development Affairs Minister Gautam Deb and former state urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya rushed to the hospital.