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Climbers Illegally Land Plane Near Mont Blanc’s Summit

Mont Blanc as seen from the Aiguille du Midi. Max Ritter photo.

A pair of climbers are being investigated by French authorities after landing a small plane around 1000 feet below the summit of Mont Blanc, Western Europe's highest peak. The Swiss climbers had exited the plane and were en route to the nearby summit before officers from France's National Gendarmerie intercepted them and asked them to turn back. 

RELATED: Woman Climbs Everest in Two Weeks, Breaks Round Trip Record

The pair weren't arrested, but an investigation has been opened,  according to CNN. Local authorities issued statements condemning the rogue pilots/climbers: "It constitutes an intolerable attack on the high mountain environment and on all existing protective measures," said Eric Fournier, the mayor of Chamonix-Mont Blanc.

This drama comes hot on the heels of  contentious anti-crowding legislation which requires climbers attempting Mont Blanc via the standard route to book a room in one of the mountain's shelters. Violators could face two years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

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