XC pilot Alex Yaschenko has been injured in a paragliding accident in Hunza, Pakistan and his friends are fundraising to help get him home.
Alex is one of Australia’s top XC pilots and set the Australian paragliding record in 2018 with a flight of 482km.
He was in Pakistan to take part in the Pakistan International Paragliding Cup in Muzaffarabad from 27 September to 1 October 2019. Forty-two pilots were registered for the competition.
However, an earthquake in the region ahead of the event meant the competition was cancelled. Instead, pilots travelled north to the mountainous region of Hunza.
Known for its spectacular adventure flying, the region is dominated by 6,000m peaks.
Posting on the GoFundMe crowd-funder page, Kirsten Seeto wrote: “On 28 September, Alex Yaschenko, was involved in a paragliding accident in the Hunza Valley, Pakistan.
“Despite many years paragliding experience as one of Australia’s top pilots, as well as having flown extensively in this area several years prior, Alex experienced a collapse soon after take-off and suffered a significant impact on landing.
“Alex took out travel insurance for this trip, but he has hit the jackpot of bad luck as injuries of this nature require air ambulance transport home costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
She said Alex’s injuries have been diagnosed as tetraplegia, “which means he is currently paralysed from the waist down with limited function in his arms.”
She added: “To give him the best chance of recovery it is critical he is repatriated back to his family as soon as possible. The first available air ambulance is in two days time and although this feels like a massive goal to raise at least $150,000AUD so quickly we desperately want to give Alex the best chance in his recovery.”
The GoFundMe page is aiming to raise $150,000AUD (£82,000 / $101,000US / €93,000) to help cover Alex’s medical repatriation to Australia. It had raised more than $20,000AUD within five hours, with several individual donations of more than $1,000.