Parascending in Dubai 1970s

He was new to Dubai, young, brash and he owned a Paraglider - Dubai's first! Paragliders need to be towed into the air. The Young Man found a new friend with an old Landrover. He offered to tow the YM's Paraglider into the air. Soon YM was soaring high above Dubai's desert dunes towed by his new friend's Landrover. Word soon spread about YM's Paraglider.

Manager of newly built Costay Club on Jumeirah Beach heard it. He thought it would be a spectacular way to open his new Club with YM parascending along Jumeirah Beach then landing in Costay Club's new Pool. YM was asked. He agreed! Following Friday morning YM made a test run before the official Costay Club 3pm opening that afternoon. YM was well prepared. Both YM and his friend had Walkie Talkie Radios. Landrover started its run by Sheikh Rashid's Beach Palace. YM was soon soaring high above Jumeirah Beach getting ready to descend into Costay Club's swimming pool. He did so to perfection. Everyone was happy. YM was confident.

Image by George Ranson

The Main Event

Parascending Dubai

While YM was confident he was also new to Dubai. He didn't know about Dubai's wind changing direction from offshore to onshore after 1pm or Dubai's population heading for Jumeirah Beach around 3pm each Friday. YM made his preparations blissfully unaware. That Friday afternoon the Landrover was hooked up for the tow. As soon as his watch read 3pm, the tow started and YM was again soaring high above Jumeirah Beach except instead of looking down on the beach, YM was looking down on Jumeirah's Villas. YM knew how to deal with that. Then Dubai's expatriate workers started arriving at Jumeirah Beach as usual on a Friday afternoon. One always rode his motorcycle to the beach and onto Jumeirah Beach. Today was no different except he didn't see the tow rope behind the Landrover. He collided with the rope. Both Motorcycle and Landrover came to an immediate halt. YM didn't! He continued to make progress but now downwards towards Jumeirah's Beach Villas, or more precisely, their roofs. YM called the Landrover to get moving! It couldn't. Motorcycle and its rider were firmly entangled in the towrope. The Landrover was going nowhere! YM received the bad news over his Walkie Talkie.

The Descent

I could see the Villas coming towards me. At the first Villa I was like Superman - I bounded across its roof in two huge leaps but I lost momentum by the time I hit the next Villa. I demolished part of its roof, removed a water storage tank and collected two TV Aerials. It didn't hurt. I was like a knife going through butter! Now my momentum was downward! I slammed into the side of the third Villa, sliding to the ground, landing next to the Villa's Resident who was quietly reading her library book, relaxing in her garden chair. It must have been a shock for to see this body wrapped in TV Aerials fall from the sky!

YM later explained (from his hospital bed)....

"And that was when I got lucky!"

This lady's husband was Duty Doctor at nearby Iranian Hospital. She called her husband. Within minutes an ambulance arrived to take YM to hospital. Barely a half hour after his fall from the sky, YM was being treated for multiple fractures in an Iranian Hospital Operating Theatre. YM took a year and a half recovering from his injuries. He returned to work. There was no Court Case or Prosecution! Dubai Police did not get involved. Imagine trying to explain the circumstances to a Dubai Court!

Costay Club was a Social Club built by a Joint Venture of Costains and Taylor Woodrow Construction Companies for their Employees. JV was then building an extension to Port Rashid. Costay Club has long disappeared from Jumeirah Beach - probably demolished to make way for someone's beach house!