MUNICH (AP) — Greenpeace
has apologized, and Munich police
are investigating after a protester parachuted into the stadium and injured two people
's European Championship
match against France
The protester used a powered paraglider with a motor attached to his back, but lost control and careened over spectators' heads before landing on the field ahead of Tuesday's game. Debris fell on the field and main grandstand, narrowly missing France coach Didier Deschamps.
Greenpeace spokesperson Benjamin Stephan apologized on Wednesday for the bungled protest and the injuries that resulted.
“The paraglider didn’t want to go into the stadium yesterday; the pilot wanted to fly over the stadium while maintaining the required safety distance and only let a balloon float into the stadium with a message to Volkswagen, a main sponsor, demanding that they stop producing climate-damaging diesel and gasoline engines as soon as possible,” Stephan explained.
“And there was a technical issue during the flight over — the hand throttle of the electric paramotor failed, and the glider suddenly lost height because there was no more thrust.”
Stephan stated that after striking the steel cables attached to the stadium's roof, the pilot was forced to make an emergency landing on the field.
“We are in the process of clarifying this and are working with everyone, and of course, we take responsibility and would like to emphasize once more that we are very sorry, and that we apologize to the two people who were harmed,” Stephan said.
“The pilot injured two men during the landing approach, and the injured were given medical care by emergency services and taken to hospitals for further care,” Munich police said in a statement.
According to police, none of the injuries were serious, and the pilot, a 38-year-old man from the southwestern state of Baden Württemberg, was unharmed. “There is no understanding whatsoever for such irresponsible actions in which a significant risk to human life is accepted,” the police said.
The protester's parachute bore the slogans "KICK OUT OIL
!" and "Greenpeace." When he landed on the field, Germany players Antonio Rüdiger and Robin Gosens were the first to approach him, and he was then led away by security
UEFA called the action "reckless and dangerous," and said "law
enforcement will take the necessary action." The German soccer
federation also condemned the action, saying "it could have turned out much worse."
Greenpeace protests have previously targeted UEFA and one of its top-tier tournament sponsors, Russian state energy
Greenpeace activists abseiled from the stadium's roof in 2013 to unfurl a banner protesting Russian oil and Gazprom, which sponsored the visiting team, German club Schalke.
Greenpeace later donated money
to a charity
supported by Basel, which had been fined by UEFA for the security breach.
Following the incident, UEFA released a statement defending its environmental credentials.
“UEFA and its partners are fully committed to a sustainable Euro 2020 tournament,” the organization stated, adding that “many initiatives have been implemented to offset carbon emissions