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Parachutist Arrested After Publicity Stunt Goes Awry - 2001-08-23


Police have rescued a stuntman whose parachute caught onto the outstretched torch of the Statue of Liberty.

Hundreds of tourists watched the paraglider and his brightly colored parachute dangling over New York Harbor before police made the dramatic rescue. The police pulled the man to safety onto a deck just below the torch. He was then arrested by the U.S. Park Service Police.

He has been identified as Thierry Devaux, a French stuntman who was trying to land on the Statue of Liberty as part of a publicity event. He made a similar attempt last year. Observers at the scene say he used a motorized backpack to power his parachute.

The Statue of Liberty often attracts publicity seekers. Last year a group of people protesting the U-S Navy's bombing exercises on the island of Vieques off the coast of Puerto Rico were arrested for flying banners from the crown of the monument. The landmark statue is one of the world's most revered symbols of freedom. The monument was a gift from France to the people of United States in 1886. 100 years later, in 1986, the Statue of Liberty underwent a major restoration, including a new gold leaf finish for the torch.

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