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Australian Parachutes From Statue of Liberty

October 17, 1986 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) _ An Australian stuntman who parachuted off the Statue of Liberty says the only time he was frightened was when he was arrested.

″I was very relieved to be released so quickly. The park rangers were very nice,″ Nicholas S. Feteris, 25, of Melbourne, told the New York Post.

Feteris parachuted 305 feet to the ground from the statue’s torch at 10:15 a.m. Thursday. He was charged with trespassing and parachuting without a license and ordered to return to court Tuesday, said Manny Strumpf, spokesman for the Park Service.

Strumpf said officials did not know why Feteris, who also parachuted from the World Trade Center’s 1,350-foot south tower two years ago, decided to leap from the statue.

″I just couldn’t help myself,″ Feteris explained.

The Park Service spokesman also said it wasn’t clear how the adventurer got into the statue’s right hand to gain access to the torch, which has been closed to the public for 70 years.

Said Feteris: ″The door was open.″

Strumpf said Feteris was not injured and the statue was not damaged.

Feteris said he originally planned to hang an Australian flag from the torch before he jumped. But when he saw ″all these people with their hands on their hearts looking really patriotic, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.″