Australians Squash Airborne Tomato Threat


While the U.S. is having trouble keeping people from pointing lasers at airplanes, it seems the Australians have convincingly dealt with another type of threat to aviation: flying tomatoes. Southport Magistrate Alex Chilcott put Anthony Douglas Donohue, 35, of Sorrento, in Queensland, on two years of probation after the man admitted threatening to bring down a helicopter by shooting tomatoes from a “homemade bazooka.” Donohue became annoyed over the helicopter’s repetitive survey flights over the house he shares with his parents and called in the threats to Air Services Australia, the government agency that regulates civil aviation. “I have a homemade bazooka and if that helicopter is here again tomorrow I will fire the bazooka at this guv,” Donohue was quoted by prosecutors as saying, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The court was also told his ammunition of choice was tomatoes. The threats were taken seriously and the helicopter pilot returned to base (whether out of fear … or because it was his turn to wash the helicopter). It turns out Donohue was bluffing. There was no homemade bazooka and his defense lawyer said Donohue was under stress from a variety of sources when the chopper noise pushed him over the edge. The judge made psychiatric counseling a condition of Donohue’s probation.