Boy who stole two planes for a joyride could receive pilot training

Helen Coffey

A Chinese boy who stole two seaplanes and took them for a joyride could receive pilot training.

The 13-year-old drove the aircraft around a car park before hitting a crash barrier with one, causing 8,000 yuan (£935) worth of damage, reports the South China Morning Post.

He was caught on CCTV arriving by electric bike at the Taihu Lake hangar in eastern Zhejiang province around midnight on 15 July.

The teenager from Huzhou city had spent a large part of the weekend observing staff doing maintenance work on the planes at the SeaRey base in preparation for the stunt.

He was seen pulling a 450kg seaplane from its hangar, climbing into the cockpit and starting the engine.

He proceeded to drive it around the airport, hitting the barrier before switching to another plane and taking it for a further three circuits of the car park.

The prankster’s parents only realised what their son had been up to when staff contacted them to negotiate a settlement for the damage caused.

However, he was praised for his observation skills, with the SeaRey base director saying: “We pilots all admired him.”

The director added that he would like to train the teen to become a pilot at the base.

It’s not the first time a teenager has attempted to commandeer an aircraft.

In 2018 US police arrested two teenagers who stole a plane after driving a tractor onto an airport runway.

Authorities in eastern Utah said the boys, aged 14 and 15, were seen “flying very low” over a major road after taking off in the small aircraft from a private airstrip.

The pair stole the plane near the village of Jensen and later landed 13 miles away at a public airport in the city of Vernal.