November 21, 2005
AGRA, INDIA—Fisherman on the Yamuna River got a big surprise last night when they caught something unexpected—a twenty-one year old British tourist. Fiona Sarn was found trapped in parachute cords but floating safely on her back. She was grateful but embarrassed at her rescue.
At first, Sarn refused to say how it happened that she ended up in the waters of the Yamuna. But when local authorities threatened to throw her into jail, Sarn soon started talking. It turns out that the young daredevil was attempting a high-altitude, low-opening (HALO) parachute jump onto the grounds of the Taj Mahal. She claimed to want to see the famous Indian monument at night, after the other tourists had gone home.
“I hate crowds,” Sarn said. “And it’s such a lovely building. I guess I just want to have a look around by myself.”
Local police expressed disbelief that a tourist would rent an airplane and attempt tricky nighttime skydiving just for a look at the Taj Mahal. Some questioned whether Sarn had another motive, particularly when they realized that she had made the jump from four miles up in the sky.
“That’s crazy!” said local skydiving enthusiast Dilip Amar. “She could have been killed! No wonder she ended up in the river!” To that, Sarn nodded her head and said, “I told Alistair it wouldn’t work!” It was a statement nobody quite understood.
But before the authorities could book Sarn for attempted trespassing at a famous monument, the police officer in charge received a phone call.“All charges are dropped,” he announced.
This marks the third attempted sky dive onto the Taj Mahal grounds so far this year, down from a high of ten attempted jumps by this time last year.