West Bengal

Death on a wire

Print edition : May 31, 2013

Sailendra Nath Roy hangs by his hair on a zip line after his attempt to so cross the Teesta in Darjeeling district and create a world record went horribly wrong. Photo: DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP

DEATH came to Sailendra Nath Roy, 48, while he was doing what made him a hero in Siliguri, his hometown in North Bengal. Roy finds a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for travelling the farthest distance on a zip line while hanging from his hair, but his April 28 attempt to break his own record, across the Teesta in Sevoke in Darjeeling district, proved fatal.

Roy was suspended 21 metres above the ground on a zip cable by a looped ponytail of his hair. It began well as he slid nearly half the length of the 185-metre-long zip line across the river amid cheers from a large crowd. Suddenly, the pulley on the line got jammed and Roy struggled to move it. He used his hands to inch forward, egged on by the crowd. But after a short frantic struggle, Roy’s body slumped and became still. It took more than 25 minutes to get him down and take him to the nearest hospital, but he had died by then. He had apparently suffered a massive heart attack.

Roy worked as a Home Guard with the Siliguri Metropolitan Police and was also a professional stuntman who performed daredevil feats in the country and abroad. He established a world record by traversing 82 metres (270 feet) hanging by his hair on a zip wire at Neemrana Fort Palace in Rajasthan in March 2011.

Last September, he created a sensation when he pulled the Darjeeling Toy Train—the engine and four coaches—for 2.5 metres with his hair.

Suhrid Sankar Chattopadhyay