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Rio drug traffickers take exception to Santa's chopper

Open fire on flying Saint Nick

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A Brazilian Santa en route to a kids' party in a Rio de Janeiro favela (slum) was forced to seek an alternative means of transport after drug traffickers opened fire on his helicopter, the Telegraph reports.

The actor was being ferried to the bash in the Nova Mare favela on Sunday when the chopper came under fire as it passed over the neighbouring Vila Joao shantytown. A police spokesman said: "They thought it was a police operation and started shooting. Luckily, nobody was hurt."

The pilot quickly returned to base, where two bullet holes were found in the helicopter's fuselage.

Santa, meanwhile, eventually got to the party by car, to be met by more than 1,000 kids and parents eagerly awaiting the distribution of gifts. The president of the local residents' association described the children as "very sad as they had expected Santa to arrive by helicopter". ®

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