Off-course pilot detained for breaching Belarusian border

  • 2006-06-12

VILNIUS - An amateur Lithuanian pilot whose single-engine plane few into Belarusian airspace has been detained in custody, while his passenger is to be deported.
Tadas Blazevicius flew his two-seater aircraft across the Belarusian border last week, and was forced to land by fighter jets.
It is believed he flew into unfriendly airspace by mistake after his compass malfunctioned.
The incident has been treated as an illegal crossing of the state border into Belarus, which is currently under diplomatic sanctions from European Union nations over concerns about the re-election of its autocratic president Alexander Lukashenko.
Lithuanian Foreign Ministry Consular Department director Vaidotas Verba told the Baltic News Service on June 9 that the pilot would remain in custody for a further ten days.
Blazevicius' passenger, his 22-year old sister, would be released from custody and deported, Verba said.