Aftermath of tandem collision at Green Bay

This news video shows some of the events that followed the crash at Green Bay in August.

The passenger involved in that tandem accident is now in a back brace as a result of spinal injuries sustained in the fall and has been unable to work since the accident. Ms. Lin used to work as a beautician but after spinal surgery to repair the damage done in the accident has been reliant on friends to look after her.

Ms. Lin was a customer of the well-known Yeh Ma paragliding club’s tandem operation at Green Bay, who now deny any responsibility for the accident or for Ms. Lin’s injuries. Yeh Ma has been operating a flying school and tandem operation up at Green Bay for close to 20 years now. Yeh Ma states in the video that the other pilot was at fault and that all other instructors in Taiwan hate him ‘because he has the most successful business’. In fact the reporters go on to claim that Yeh Ma has a turnover of over NT$4m (USD138,000) a month, and that tax officials are now investigating the club for tax evasion.

Meanwhile Ms. Lin has not been able to get any help from the legislature or scenic area authorities (Green Bay is inside the North Coast Scenic Area) etc., all of whom claim to have no control over the activities of private companies operating there.

The news report goes on to state that Yeh Ma does not offer any insurance policies to clients but that they should take out insurance cover on their own. This is somewhat contradicted by the club’s website which states that flights cost NT$1,000 and include insurance coverage of NT$2m. In the video Yeh Ma himself states there is no insurance company involved and that as a club, he cannot buy any coverage. According to consumer protection agencies in Xinbei this may be considered false advertising and may be punished with a fine of up to NT$25m, though there was no talk of such a case in progress.
The legislature passed regulations back in 2004 (after a spate of accidents) that require those offering flights for hire to have a minimum of NT$3m insurance for their passengers.

The news reporters go themselves to Green Bay and take a flight with the Yeh Ma club and are told there is no need for any training before flight. The attempted take-off results in a tumble but apparently no injury to the reporter. Yeh Ma himself is seen taking cash from the reporters in direct contravention of site rules which forbid any tandem flights for money.

The last 6 months have seen 5 accidents at Green Bay and 6 people injured:

    9/11 three gliders collided injuring two people.
    9/10 a bad landing injured one person.
    7/31 two gliders collided injuring one person.
    6/25 crash injured one person.
    5/22 tree landing injured one person.

Please note the above information is taken directly from the news report and I am only responsible for translating it, and not for any factual errors in the report. If I’ve made an error in translation please feel free to point it out in comments. The scene at 5:51 where a girl is taking an insurance form from the reporter is at Ilan where the club operating the site does offer proper cover.

I wish Ms. Lin a speedy recovery and hope she gets proper compensation. It’s very sad to see the operations of a fine site like Green Bay have fallen into their current state, not to mention the many others that are like this.
Please do not add yourself to the list of accident victims and be sure your friends don’t either. Avoid flying tandem with anyone not possessing a proper tandem rating. An Advanced pilot’s license is a step toward a tandem license, not a substitute. Make sure you have appropriate insurance that clearly mentions that paragliding incidents are covered, many travel insurance policies directly exclude such activities. Do not support those who flout the law and safe practices by giving them your money.

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One Response to Aftermath of tandem collision at Green Bay

  1. Wow. Thanks for the reminder about why I’m not going to be taking a tandem ride in Taiwan!

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