Outrage as 2 Swiss mountaineers land plane on Mont Blanc

Magnificent Mont Blanc glacier with Lac Blanc viewpoint. (Shutterstock)
Updated 19 June 2019

Outrage as 2 Swiss mountaineers land plane on Mont Blanc

  • Police intercepted the two Swiss mountaineers to get their identity and asked them to turn back
  • Mont Blanc is crawling with thousands of climbers during the summer months, aiming to reach the 4,809 meter summit

ANNECY, France: Two Swiss mountaineers landed a small plane less than 400 meters from the summit of Mont Blanc on Tuesday before heading for the top of Europe’s tallest peak with police in pursuit, the French gendarme said.
The pair landed the aircraft at 4,450 meters (14,600-feet) on the famous mountain in the French Alps in an incident described as a “provocation” by the mayor of the nearby Chamonix resort, Eric Fournier.
“It constitutes an intolerable attack on the high mountain environment and on all existing protective measures,” Fournier said, describing the behavior as “unprecedented.”
Police saw the plane on the east face of Mont Blanc, Lt. Col. Stephane Bozon, who heads the gendarmerie’s mountain rescue service in Chamonix, told AFP.
The area, officials said, is not an authorized landing zone.
Police intercepted the two Swiss mountaineers to get their identity and asked them to turn back.
The pair were allowed to take off.
Bozon said they were reflecting on what offense had been committed.
Mont Blanc is crawling with thousands of climbers during the summer months, aiming to reach the 4,809 meter 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.
The increase in numbers has led to some people camping illegally and concerns over sanitary risks such as water availability and problems with waste disposal.


Man eats $120,000 piece of art — a banana taped to wall

Updated 08 December 2019

Man eats $120,000 piece of art — a banana taped to wall

MIAMI: The move was bananas ... or maybe the work was just too appealing.
A performance artist shook up the crowd at the Art Basel show in Miami Beach on Saturday when he grabbed a banana that had been duct-taped to a gallery wall and ate it.
The banana was, in fact, a work of art by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan titled “Comedian” and sold to a French collector for $120,000.
In a video posted on his Instagram account, David Datuna, who describes himself as a Georgian-born American artist living in New York, walks up to the banana and pulls it off the wall with the duct tape attached.
“Art performance ... hungry artist,” he said, as he peeled the fruit and took a bite. “Thank you, very good.”
A few bystanders could be heard giggling before a flustered gallery official whisked him to an adjoining space for questioning.
But the kerfuffle was resolved without a food fight.
“He did not destroy the art work. The banana is the idea,” Lucien Terras, director of museum relations for Galerie Perrotin, told the Miami Herald.
As it turns out, the value of the work is in the certificate of authenticity, the newspaper said. The banana is meant to be replaced.
A replacement banana was taped to the wall about 15 minutes after Datuna’s stunt.
“This has brought a lot of tension and attention to the booth and we’re not into spectacles,” Terras said. “But the response has been great. It brings a smile to a lot of people’s faces.”
Cattelan is perhaps best known for his 18-carat, fully functioning gold toilet called “America” that he had once offered on loan to US President Donald Trump.
The toilet, valued at around $5 to $6 million, was in the news again in September when it was stolen from Britain’s Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of wartime leader Winston Churchill, where it had been on display.