Illegal Mont-Blanc Landing: Pilots Risk a € 150,000 Fine


On 18 June 2019, the whole mountaineering community worldwide was in disbelief & shock when two Swiss men illegally landed a small plane less than 400 metres (1,312-foot) from the summit of Mont-Blanc.

Their intention was to conquer the Mont-Blanc summit (4,810 m or 15,774 ft), without having to go through one of the hard alpine routes.

On 21 November 2019, an amendment which proposes a penalty of one-year imprisonment and 150 000 euros fine for any wild landing for recreational purposes in an aircraft on a mountain area was adopted in the Senate.

The Breitling company had taken a publicity stunt landing 300 meters under the summit of Mont Blanc last June. Photo source
View from the summit of Mont Blanc

The scandalous landing of a small plane at 4,550 m above sea level between the Wall of the Coast and the upper Red Rocks represented an unprecedented provocation.

And "unprecedented" meant that the authorities had trouble in establishing the exact offence.

Lt Col Stephane Bozon from PGHM particularly struggled hard to find the proper legislation for punishing such an atrocious deed.

"The prefecture first confirmed to us that it was a forbidden landing zone. [...] Then, we identified that it was a violation of the environmental code, but probably also a violation of the rules of civil aviation.", declared Lt Col Bozon shortly after the incident.

So - at the moment of the incident, the illegal landing in the Mont-Blanc massif fell under the scope of only one article of the Environmental Code, which prohibited the removal of passengers for recreational purposes by aircraft in the mountain areas. 

This is why the two Swiss mountaineers got away with a fine of only 38 euros.

The two men landed their plane less then 400 m (1,312 ft) from the summit of Mont-Blanc (photo).

The two men landed their plane less than 400 m (1,312 ft) from the summit of Mont-Blanc (photo).

Following this incident which has shocked everyone and made the headlines in France and not only, Senator Jerome Durain of Saone-et-Loire had tabled a bill to bring heavier penalties to this kind of offences.

"Mont Blanc is an irreplaceable natural heritage that must be protected. Those who endanger its preservation must be punished at the level of the seriousness of the acts committed", declared Senator Jerome Durain during a press release.

To be applied, the amended bill will have to be validated by the National Assembly.

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