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TravelClimbers arrested after landing plane on Mont Blanc

13:42  19 june  2019
13:42  19 june  2019 Source:   cnn.com

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Two Swiss mountaineers have landed a small plane less than 400 metres from the summit of Mont Blanc before heading for the top of Europe’s tallest peak Officials said the area is not an authorised landing zone. The two climbers were equipped with ropes and crampons and had already started

White Mountain, Italian: Monte Bianco [ˈmonte ˈbjaŋko]), French: Mont Blanc (pronounced [mɔ̃ blɑ̃]; is the highest mountain in the Alps and the highest in Europe west of the Caucasus peaks of Russia and

Climbers arrested after landing plane on Mont Blanc© Shutterstock Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in Europe at 4,810 meters.

Conquering Western Europe's highest peak is an ambition shared by many climbers, but one Mont Blanc summit attempt cut some serious corners en route to the top.

Rather than scaling the 4,810 meters (15,781 feet) under their own steam, a pair of would-be climbers landed a small plane on the face of the mountain on Tuesday.

Officers from the specialist mountain unit of France's National Gendarmerie, the PHGM, apprehended the pair, who were equipped with climbing equipment including ropes and crampons, a spokesman told CNN via telephone.

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Mont Blanc is crawling with thousands of climbers during the summer months, aiming to reach the 4,810 metre summit AFP/File. Two Swiss mountaineers landed a small plane less than 400 metres from the summit of Mont Blanc on Tuesday before heading for the top of Europe's tallest peak with

Two Swiss mountaineers landed a small plane less than 400 metres from the summit of Mont Blanc on Tuesday before heading for the top of Europe's tallest peak with police in Mont Blanc is a popular destination for tourists and climbers in summer Credit: PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images.

Local authorities from the nearby ski resort of Chamonix criticized the illegal landing in a statement posted on Facebook.

"It constitutes an intolerable attack on the high mountain environment and on all existing protective measures," Eric Fournier, mayor of Chamonix-Mont Blanc, said in the statement.

Fournier praised the police response and said he hoped their actions would dissuade anyone else from engaging in a similar "provocation."

Lieutenant-Colonel Stéphane Bozon of the PHGM said officers were investigating what offense the pair may have committed, the AFP news agency reports.

The climbers, both of whom are from Switzerland, landed the plane less than 400 meters from the top of the mountain, according to AFP.

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Mont Blanc is crawling with thousands of climbers during the summer months, aiming to reach the 4,809 metre summit. Officials have been grappling with a surge in adventure-seeking tourists -- some without sufficient equipment or experience -- hoping to scale the mountain during the summer season.

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Local authorities are struggling to deal with huge numbers of visitors to the mountain and recently introduced new rules designed to limit overcrowding.

Climbers scaling Mont Blanc without having booked a room in one of its shelters could now face two years in prison and a €300,000 ($336,000) fine.

Authorities said "huge visitor numbers" on the mountain had led to concerns over "sanitary risks" like water availability and waste disposal problems.

The ban came into effect on June 1 and will remain in place throughout the busy summer climbing season, according to a decree signed by France's Haute-Savoie prefecture.

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