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Sat, Aug 13, 2011

Snack Cravings Lead To Helo Pilot's Arrest

Tiny Island Nation Didn't Appreciate Surprise Munchie Run

The invention of the helicopter opened up many new options for landing sites. That doesn't mean they're all good ideas.

The Telegraph in the UK reports that officials of the tiny, remote, Pacific island nation of Nauru, which has a national population of only about 10,000 people, were not amused when a 24-year-old Australian pilot landed a two-seat helicopter on Capelle Beach to grab a drink and some chocolate from the island's main supermarket. The pilot and his passenger were working at sea on a Taiwanese fishing vessel when they left the ship in search of snacks, and allegedly did not notify authorities of their intent.

A witness on the island told Radio Australia, "they apparently told the police that they saw the supermarket sign so they landed there and went and got some chocolates and some soft drinks and a few snacks."

They might have thought landing on the 21-square-mile island to shop would have been a welcome contribution to the nation's balance of trade. But police impounded the helicopter, took the men to jail, and charged them with violations of aviation regulations and Nauru's Immigration Act.

The Telegraph reports the pilot told authorities he was "sea crazy" after spending 75 days at sea, but at last check he was facing a $100,000 fine.

Nauru welcomes tourists, but obviously would prefer you call ahead before arriving. So next time someone tells you that's it's easier to get forgiveness than permission, remember, there are exceptions.

FMI: www.discovernauru.com

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