19-year-old pilot lands in Seoul en route to record

Seoul, Dec 12 (EFE).- A 19-year-old Belgian pilot is on a stopover this weekend in South Korea during her attempt to become the youngest woman to go around the world alone aboard an ultralight aircraft.

Zara Rutherford landed her aircraft, Shark, at Gimpo International Airport, in western Seoul, Saturday from Vladivostok, Russia, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported Sunday.

She made a stopover in South Korea after Chinese and Japanese authorities denied her landing due to the strict border restrictions both territories apply as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, she said.

Traveling under the current circumstances “is being a challenge,” the aviator, scheduled to depart Monday from Muan County, some 385 kilometers south of Seoul, told reporters at the South Korean airport.

Rutherford was stuck in Russia for a month due to a visa issue and will not be able to fulfill her goal of completing the journey before Christmas, as she had planned. The pilot now hopes to conclude her trip on Jan. 14.

“It’s an adventure, so …” she said.

Rutherford is sharing content about her trip through the project page FlyZolo and her social media.

Her next destination will be Taiwan. She then plans to cover the Philippines and Thailand, to later head to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Greece, she said.

Rutherford began her 51,000-kilometer journey in August from Kortrijk-Wevelgem International Airport in Belgium, and has since covered the United Kingdom, the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Canada and Russia.

A daughter of two pilots, Rutherford is trying to break the record currently held by American Shaesta Waiz, who in 2017 became the youngest woman to complete a solo flight around the world aged 30. EFE


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