Swiss aviator Eric Guilloud has died after the microlight he was piloting crashed close to Cotopaxi volcano in the Andes on Saturday, Ecuadorian aviation authorities have announced.
"On Saturday afternoon, a light aircraft type AEROSPOOL WT9 with the registration E-JUKE crashed in the province of Cotopaxi," the Ecuadorean Directorate General of Civil Aviation said in a statement.
"The ultralight had come from Latacunga (Cotopaxi) and was bound for Tabacundo (Pichincha), and was piloted by Eric Guilloud, the only person aboard, and who died in the accident."
Guilloud, 62, began his round-the-world expedition last year, and planned to fly to over 34 countries over the course of 20 months: a total of 76,000 kilometers and 384 flying hours. Before reaching Ecuador, he had flown over Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil in his microlight.
- Yes, it has. I’ll think twice before I buy a flight next time.33.4% (811)
- No, it hasn’t. Flying is one of the safest forms of transport.41.7% (1013)
- I’ve always been afraid of flying, but have no other choice16.8% (409)
- Other8.1% (196)
In January, Guilloud posted this video of his flight above Iquique in northern Chile.
A former Swiss hang-gliding champion, Guilloud left his occupation as an entrepreneur in the pharmaceutical industry to indulge in his passion for aviation. In September 2013 he left on a nine-month world tour and traveled across 40 countries to the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia and back in the microlight, which was able to transport only one suitcase and food for one day.
Both expeditions allowed Guilloud to raise money for charity, including for an orthopedic center in Burkino Faso. "I feel infinitely happy to be there, in my dream, and also aware of how lucky I am to be able to realize it," said Guilloud in an interview in October 2013, when taking a break from his nine month expedition to the Marqueasas Islands.