Paraglider pilot fined in New Zealand for low-flying stunt
( dpa ) - A French paraglider pilot has been fined a total of 1,500 New Zealand dollars (about 1,155 US dollars) for a low-flying stunt over a scenic steam train, the Civil Aviation Authority said on Monday.
The authority said it acted after media reports that two French daredevils alarmed passengers on the Kingston Flyer when they flew alongside the train and in and out of its steam plumes near the South Island lakeside resort Queenstown on January 9.
It said the other pilot had left New Zealand.
The CAA said the unnamed French sportsman was fined 1,000 New Zealand dollars for failing to have a New Zealand pilot's certificate before flying his paraglider and 500 dollars for flying below the minimum allowed height.
CAA official Steve Douglas said it was also investigating the case of German adventurer Gerhard Mayr, 42, from Konstanz, who flew a powered paraglider over Mount Cook, at 3,754 metres, New Zealand's highest peak in the Southern Alps on January 16.
Another official said earlier that Mayr was "extremely lucky to be alive" after being caught in rotor winds that reportedly had him "jerked like a rag doll" when his chute deflated at one stage and he went into freefall for several hundred metres.