12 Aug 2011

Nauru charges against sugar-starved chopper pilot dropped

6:13 pm on 12 August 2011

Dropping into Nauru for chocolate and softdrink may cost an Australian helicopter pilot his job and his licence.

A spokesperson for the Nauru government told Radio Australia the 24-year-old had been aboard a Taiwanese fishing boat for 75 days when and a Chinese passenger decided to fly the 30 nautical miles to Nauru for some junkfood.

Rod Henshaw says the pilot landed the helicopter on the beach in front of the island's department store and upon returning with snacks found the machine had been impounded.

Mr Henshaw says the man told police he was getting a bit sea-bound and wanted a break.

Charges that could have resulted in a more than 100-thousand US dollar fine have been dropped but the helicopter company's required to pay the obligatory four-thousand dollar landing fee.

Mr Henshaw says a letter of complaint will be lodged in New Zealand where the pilot gained his licence, which Mr Henshaw says he's likely to lose along with his job.