Parasailing Russian donkey unhurt after flight: police

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The Russian donkey who shot to international fame after flying high above the sea in a parasailing stunt has been located and is physically unscathed after her trauma, police said on Thursday.

The donkey ended up in the skies above the Sea of Azov in the south of Russia as a result of an impromptu advertising campaign by several entrepreneurs to attract holidaymakers to their beach, according to police.

The donkey had been examined by a veterinarian, who found that her half-an-hour-long flight over heads of holidaymakers last week did not inflict any physical damage, regional spokesman Igor Zhelyabin told AFP.

"The veterinarian has come to a conclusion that the animal is clinically healthy," he said.

The donkey's mental state however remained unclear.

Animal rights activists, who condemned the stunt as cruel, have said the animal must have been very distressed by the flight as well as a rough landing on the water.

Pictures broadcast on state television showed the donkey taken high into the sky by the stunt, frantically swinging its legs in panic as the speedboat circled around the water.

Zhelyabin said a decision on whether to open a criminal animal cruelty case would be made on Friday.

The owner of the donkey, who lives in the nearby town of Temryuk, however has told the authorities he does not see anything wrong in forcing his donkey to fly because the beachgoers "were having fun," Zhelyabin said.

Dina Goncharova, another local police spokeswoman, said police had confirmed that the donkey was a female.

© 2010 AFP

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