Premium Journalist
1 minute read
25 Nov 2016
5:41 am

Air rally pilots detained in Ethiopia


A spokesperson said the reason for the pilots being stopped was not clear.

(FILES) This file photo taken on November 20, 2016 shows a vintage Travel Air 2000 biplane sitting on the runway in Khartoum airport during the Vintage Air Rally (VAR). Pilots taking part in a vintage air rally across Africa were being detained on November 23 by Ethiopian authorities, a spokesman for the trip said. / AFP / ASHRAF SHAZLY

Pilots taking part in the Vintage Air Rally across Africa were detained on Wednesday by Ethiopian authorities, a spokesperson for the trip said.

“They are in Gambella and the authorities have located them at state accommodation for the moment,” the spokesperson said.

“We cannot communicate with them because they [authorities] have taken their phones.” A dozen biplanes dating from the ’20s and ’30s took off on November 12 from the Greek island of Crete on a 13 000km journey to Cape Town on December 17.

The reason for the pilots being stopped was not clear, with the spokesperson saying it may relate to problems with landing permits, although he believed their flight paths had been approved.

Teams taking part in the rally come from Canada, France, Germany, South Africa and the US.