French court slaps pilot with 38-euro fine for Mont Blanc landing
November 20 2020 03:26 PM
An aircraft overflying Mont Blanc
An aircraft overflying Mont Blanc


A Swiss pilot who landed his plane near the summit of Mont Blanc last year was fined 38 euros ($45), prosecutors said Thursday, disappointing hopes for a deterrent message against anarchic behaviour on Europe's highest peak.
The court in Bonneville in the Haute-Savoie department, home to Mont Blanc, had levied "the maximum possible fine" for the minor offence of landing outside a permitted zone, prosecutor Patrice Guigon told AFP.
Judges did not uphold the more serious charge of failing to meet safety standards in the aircraft, which was not carrying oxygen tanks.
The pilot and a companion touched down just east of the 4,800-metre summit in June 2019, hoping to make a quick trip to the top.
But as they were climbing, officers from France's mountain police brigade spotted the plane where they had left it at a spot 350 metres below the peak.
While the pilot's Geneva flying club said the experienced airman had put the machine down at the "Dome du Gouter", a permitted landing zone not far from the summit, police found it was actually 1.6 kilometres away.
The pilot told the court he hadn't wanted to land there as he had spotted groups of roped-together climbers from the air.

Last updated: November 20 2020 03:27 PM

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