The Virgin Islands this month welcomed 19-year-old pilot Zara Rutherford to the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport as she continued her mission to become the youngest woman to fly solo around the world.

Ms. Rutherford, who overnighted in the Virgin Islands after arriving on Sept. 1, departed Belgium on Aug. 18 and had previously flown throughout the United Kingdom, Iceland, Greenland, Canada and the United States before landing here.

Junior Minister for Tourism Sharie de Castro welcomed her and presented her with a gift from the BVI Tourist Board, according to Government Information Services.

“On behalf of the government of the Virgin Islands, I had the distinct pleasure of welcoming a brave, independent and awe-inspiring young woman to our shores,” Ms. de Castro said, adding, “I believe that Zara is an example to young people across the Virgin Islands. Her journey is proof that no dream is too grand or unreachable.”

She added that girls in particular are likely to benefit from Ms. Rutherford’s visit.

“Young girls can pattern this bold move as an example of not being limited to stereotypical gender roles but rather take charge and pursue their own passions,” she said. “Zara’s goal in flying around the world is to make history but most importantly to close the gender gap in aviation.”

‘Beautiful destination’

Ms. Rutherford was briefly in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, before landing here. She added that she chose to stop in the VI because of the beauty of the islands.

“I think it is such a beautiful destination,” she said. “I really wanted to stop somewhere in the Caribbean islands, and the BVI just stood out.”

From here, she flew to Colombia.

“Was a long 6-hour flight but super easy cruising at 8,500 feet and had a 10 [knot] tailwind later on in the trip,” she posted on Facebook after landing in the country.

To follow her journey, go to flyzolo.com.


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