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Teen pilot Rutherford lands in S. Korea in bid for record flight

SEOUL-- The British-Belgian teen pilot Zara Rutherford has made a stop in South Korea during her bid to become the youngest woman to fly solo around the world.

The 19-year-old landed at Gimpo International Airport in western Seoul Saturday afternoon, after flying in from Vladivostok, Russia, in her ultralight plane Shark.

She began her 51,000-kilometer journey in August from Kortrijk-Wevelgem Airport in western Belgium and has since covered Britain, Greenland, the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Canada and Russia.

A daughter of two pilots, Rutherford is trying to break the record held by Shaesta Wais, who became the youngest female to fly solo around the globe at age 30 in 2017.

Rutherford told reporters that she chose to land in South Korea because she was refused entry to China due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Japanese authorities had told Rutherford that she couldn't land her ultralight plane there.

"It has been challenging," Rutherford was quoted as saying by Reuters. "I'm seeing these places from the air and that is the most incredible thing. Although I'm not always allowed to go and visit, walk around and check out museums and restaurants, I can always see them from the air and it's pretty incredible."

Rutherford said she plans to take off from Muan, 385 kilometers south of Seoul, to head to Taipei on Monday. She will then cover the Philippines and Thailand, followed by the likes of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Greece. Rutherford expects to finish her journey by Jan. 14.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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