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April 16, 2012

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Pair detained over city airship flight

TWO men have been detained for launching a remote-controlled airship that flew over downtown Shanghai on Saturday before crashing.

The men said they flew the blimp from the World Expo site in the Pudong New Area to celebrate a concert by South Korean boy band Super Junior there.

However, their impromptu aerial display ended up with the pair each receiving five days' detention, said police.

After take-off, they lost control of the airship, which proceeded to fly across the Huangpu River, over downtown Shanghai before finally coming to rest on top of a residential building in Putuo District. No one was injured.

Officers said the craft was carrying 3 liters of gasoline.

While, no damage was caused, police said the men "endangered public safety by flying a small aircraft in crowded places."

The men said they bought the airship last year for 6,000 yuan (US$951) and had simply been trying to "get attention for the concert by our idols."

"It never occurred to us that the consequences would be so severe," said one of the pair, surnamed Guo.

Shanghai banned all light aircraft - including remote- controlled craft - during the World Expo held in the city in 2010, due to safety concerns.

Low-altitude flying objects - including balloons and remote-controlled model aircraft, helicopters and airships - are widely available at model stores and online shops, usually aimed at children or enthusiasts.

Parks and gardens at residential complexes can be used for take offs and landings, making supervision difficult.

Police and military aviation control authorities based in Shanghai have strengthened crackdowns on illegal small aircraft after flights were affected at city airports last year.

Nine people and three paragliders were held last September after they disrupted 39 flights in suburban areas.

Other flying objects have also caused problems recently.

Earlier this month, kite strings twice became entangled in power lines, in one incident causing a power cut.


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