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Last Updated: Monday, 24 May, 2004, 15:17 GMT 16:17 UK
Man flies microlight over Everest
A Briton was celebrating on Monday after completing the first flight over Mount Everest in a microlight craft.

Richard Meredith-Hardy, 46, of Baldock, Hertfordshire, said he circled the 29,000 ft peak and waved at climbers upon completing the feat at 0115 GMT.

He said he had climbed 17,000ft in an hour and a quarter in the microlight while towing a hang-glider at the same time.

Italian Angelo D'Arrigo had been flying the hang-glider.

I rang my family when I got back and there was the biggest sigh of relief you have ever heard
Richard Meredith-Hardy
Speaking via satellite phone from Syangboche, a 12,000ft altitude airstrip 19 miles from Everest, Mr Meredith-Hardy said: "I can't say that I had a spiritual experience while I was there.

"But when I came down and realised what I had done, you could say I had one."

He said he celebrated the achievement with a beer.

Mr Meredith-Hardy, who arrived in Nepal on 12 April, saw a previous attempt aborted after a tow-line broke and said he feared poor weather had doomed the attempt.

But a break in the fog meant that he and Mr D'Arrigo were able to set off on Monday.

He said that his wife, Nicky, and their three children Alex, 13, Isabel, 12 and Hugo, 10, had been not been very enthusiastic about the attempt because they were worried.

"But I rang them when I got back and there was the biggest sigh of relief you have ever heard," he said.

Mr Meredith-Hardy, twice world microlight champion, and Mr D'Arrigo spent a year preparing for the journey, carrying out much of their training in mountains just outside Rome.




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