Sailendra Nath Roy, an Indian Guinness World Record holder, died Sunday during a botched stunt that involved the daredevil hanging from his ponytail as he crossed a zip line.
Sailendra Nath Roy, 49, had attached his shoulder-length hair to a pulley and was attempting to cross the River Teesta in the Indian state of West Bengal Sunday, but his hair got caught about halfway across. Witnesses said the stuntman began screaming as he tried to inch forward on the 600-foot wire suspended above the water.
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"Roy tried frantically to get hold of a second rope to reach the finishing point,"
police officer K. Jayaraman told the Agence France-Presse news agency.
After around 20 minutes, he went limp and was rescued by local people. He was declared dead of a suspected heart attack after he was sent to a hospital 280 miles away.
"Preliminary investigations suggest that Roy suffered an heart attack caused by a nervous breakdown after remaining suspended for several minutes," B.R. Satpathi, who heads West Bengal state's medical services, told AFP.
Roy, who was wearing a life jacket over his shirt and carrying the Indian flag, achieved the Guinness World Record for farthest distance traveled on a zip line using one's hair in 2011 after covering 82.5 meters on a zip wire in the desert state of Rajasthan.
In 2008, Roy pulled the famous Darjeeling toy train using his ponytail.
"His wife used to urge him to quit doing dangerous stunts. Mr. Roy convinced her that crossing the Teesta River would be his last," a friend who wished to remain anonymous told AFP. "Unfortunately, that became his last stunt."
Police said that Roy had not been given permission from the state to carry out the stunt.
"We were proud of his bravery," Roy's younger brother Benoy told AFP. "He was sure to win but destiny has taken his life and the most beloved member of our family as well."
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