Santa escorted by jet into Canadian airspace
Last Updated Sat, 24 Dec 2005 22:08:47 EST
Santa was escorted into Canadian airspace by CF-18 fighter jets, as he reached the last continent on his round-the-world journey to deliver Christmas gifts, his trackers say.
The North American Aerospace Defence (NORAD) said some of its Canadian pilots in CF-18 fighter jets escorted Santa and its nine reindeer into airspace above Newfoundland shortly after 9:30 p.m. NST on Saturday.
The NORAD command centre said they flew just south of Saint Andrews, N.B.
NORAD’s radar, satellites and fighter jets usually guard against threats to Canada and the United States.
But every Dec. 24, in a 50-year-old tradition, NORAD soldiers use the equipment to track Santa’s sleigh and its nine reindeer after they leave the North Pole and circle the globe.
NORAD said Santa was expected to fly to South America and back into North America before completing his trip by returning to the North Pole early Sunday.
“Santa travels more than 91,000 miles in just 24 hours during his trip around the globe,” said a NORAD spokeswoman, Laurie White.
“We’re not sure how he does it but centuries of flying must have made him a great pilot.”
Santa visits Eiffel Tower
Earlier on Christmas Eve, Santa swooped past the Eiffel Tower in Paris, NORAD said.
PÃ¨re NoÃ«l, as he’s called by the French, entered France at about 6 p.m. local time from the north, after racing through Germany and other northern European countries.
Before that, he was spotted delivering toys to sleeping children in Italy, Egypt, Nigeria, Oman, Iran, India, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, China, Nepal and many other countries. .
A NORAD website tracks Santa’s progress and posts video updates of his journey, available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish.
The command centre said it received 912 million hits from 181 countries on Christmas Eve 2004.