A daredevil Indian who held the Guinness World Record for the distance travelled on a zip-line while hanging by his hair has died while performing a new stunt, officials said Monday.

Sailendra Nath Roy, a 49-year-old police driver, was attempting to cross the turbulent River Teesta on Sunday in the state ofWest Bengalon a 180-metre (594-foot) wire above the water.

After attaching his shoulder-length hair to a pulley on the zip-line, Roy had completed about half of the distance when his pony-tail became entangled and he found himself unable to move, an AFP photographer at the scene said.

Hundreds of spectators initially cheered him on, but then began screaming in horror when they saw the married father of two sons making increasingly desperate attempts to move forward. 

“Roytried frantically to get hold of a second rope to reach the finishing point,” senior local police officer K. Jayaraman said.

After about 20 minutes, he became motionless and was eventually rescued by local people. No ambulance or a doctor was present during the performance, which was watched by his family. 

The driver, who had taken the day off work to perform, was admitted to hospital in Siliguri, 450 kilometres (280 miles) away, where he was declared dead by doctors of a suspected heart attack.

“Preliminary investigations suggest thatRoysuffered an heart attack caused by a nervous breakdown after remaining suspended for several minutes,” said B.R. Satpathi who headsWest Bengalstate’s medical services. The results of a post-mortem are expected later Monday.

Roy, who was wearing a life-jacket over his shirt and carrying the Indian flag, achieved the Guinness World Record in 2011 after covering 82.5 metres on a zip wire while attached by his hair at a hotel in the desert state of Rajasthan.

Last year he used his pony-tail to drag an engine and four coaches of the heritage Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.Roy’s younger brother Benoy, who was witnessing his brother’s stunt for the first time, told AFP: “We were proud of his bravery.

He was sure to win but destiny has taken his life and the most beloved member of our family as well.”


This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 30-Apr-2013 here.