An 80-year-old man was arrested Wednesday in Tenerife for shooting down a firefighting helicopter. He threw a rock at the helicopter, which damaged the rotor blade. And the pilot had to make an emergency landing.
The helicopter has been deployed to fight forest fires on the Spanish island. Tenerife has been experiencing violent fires for a week, as a result of the heat and drought.
According to the police, the detainee owns a water store. The helicopter extracted water from there for use in extinguishing. The man disagreed and threw a rock at the car. While doing so, he collided with a rotating blade.
Because of his actions, the pilot had to land the plane on a soccer field, according to the mayor of Guimar. “We have one less helicopter because someone threw a rock and disabled the helicopter,” Mayor Rosa Davila said in a statement.
Water in Tenerife is scarce and found mostly in farmer-owned areas. They are angry that their water is being “taken” for fireworks. Davila said the farmers would be compensated for the costs.
Thousands of Tenerife residents have been evacuated because of the fires. Many of them have since returned home. Large fires are still burning on the island, but the flames are now spreading at a slower rate.
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