Video of the Day – Paraglider collides with vulture

It’s been a wild month for ‘animals vs. adventurers’ on Gadling. First, there was the antelope that tackled a cyclist harder than any NFL linebacker could, then there was the kayaker that got up close and personal with a blue whale, and finally, the South African motorcyclist that saved a calf from drowning in a canal.

Today’s battle? An incredible video from Russian YouTube user Paravoffka, captured as he was paragliding high above the Indian Himalayas. Midway through his flight, a Himalayan Griffon Vulture became entangled in the slings of the main chute, causing Paravoffka to drop through the air like a rock (with an eagle clawing at it).

Luckily, Paravoffka deployed the emergency chute, which allowed him to regain enough control to crash land in a tree, breaking his fall and eventually allowing him to free the vulture. Incredible footage and a great example of another extreme situation handled well under pressure.

Have you battled any forces of nature recently? We want proof! Submit pictures to our Gadling Flickr Pool and leave video links in the comments section below. It could be our next Photo/Video of the Day!

Video of the Day: SNL jokes about Southwest plane accident

Southwest Airlines has had some troubles recently, including an incident where the roof of one of their planes just, you know, started to tear away from the rest of the aircraft. On this past weekend’s episode of Saturday Night Live, Weekend Update welcomed a flight attendant from that damaged flight. Well, it was the talented Kristin Wiig portraying one of the Dallas-based airline’s employees. Seeing as how the plane landed safely and there was only one reported injury (to a flight attendant, though), we see nothing wrong with cracking a few jokes about the situation. Besides, it’s about time we all got to see those oxygen masks put to use.

Was the skit out of bounds? Did you get a laugh out of it? Let us know in the comments.

Video: Skydiving accident uncut (graphic)

Like most other people out there, I was nervous before I went skydiving for the first time. That whole ‘jumping out of a plane thousands of feet above land’ thing kind of got under my skin. Every jumper’s worst nightmare is to be involved in a skydiving accident, but those fears are usually brushed off by other people’s reassurances of, “Dude, that never happens”. But sometimes it does.

Chris Colwell’s first-hand helmet video of his own skydiving accident that left him quadriplegic made me cry the first time I saw it. And then I cried again the second time I saw it. It’s hard not to be hit with difficult-to-handle emotions when you watch this video. It is tragic. But Chris’ attitude post-accident is admirable. He remains positive to this day and has a YouTube channel worth checking out.

WARNING: This video is not easy to watch and it may contain content not appropriate for children.

Seattle taxi accident hits famous Pike Place Market pig statue

An accident this weekend involving a Seattle taxi has left the city’s iconic Rachel the Pig statue and local residents squealing in protest. Seattle’s KING-TV reports that a collision between the taxi and another driver at the famous Pike Place Market knocked the famous 550 pound statue off its base.

The statue, which serves as the Market’s unofficial mascot, was installed in 1986. “Rachel” functions as real piggy bank, collecting loose change from tourists and locals visiting the famous market. The $6,000-9,000 earned from donations each year are used to support social services programs in Seattle.

Though the statue sustained minor scratch damage in the crash, it should be repaired within the next few days. Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery for one of Seattle’s most famous pigs.

[Flickr photo courtesy of Loren Javier]

Winter weather still causing travel delays in Germany

Two weeks ago we reported how winter weather had caused travel delays in Europe. One of the worst-hit areas was Germany, with thick ice on the roads, canceled flights, an an overworked rail system.

Now it appears Germany’s bad winter isn’t over. Cold temperatures and thick ice on the roads has prompted Berlin’s fire brigade to declare a weather state of emergency. Yesterday about 180 people were injured because of falls or auto accidents. One crash involved a tour bus and 30 people were injured. Numerous flights have been delayed or canceled. Other parts of Germany are also affected, although the capital appears to be the hardest hit.

Current conditions in Berlin are cold and foggy, meaning that the ice won’t be going away anytime soon. If you’re travel to, from, or within Germany over the next few days, be sure to check ahead to see if your plane, bus, or train is running on time. If you’re driving, get chains and go slow.

[Clever photo of snowy Hamburg courtesy user Alexsven via Gadling’s flickr pool]