Zara Rutherford Hurries to Malaysia Ahead of Super-Typhoon

Today, 19-year-old round-the-world pilot Zara Rutherford reached Malaysia, just hours ahead of Super-Typhoon Rai. At least, her weeks of delay from waiting out the Russian winter are over.

As we reported in late November, Rutherford had been stuck in the Russian town of Ayan for several weeks waiting out snowstorms. Eventually, she managed to fly to Vladivostok, with its more coastal climate. Here, sorting out paperwork delayed her further. At this point, she had been in Russia for 41 days.

Rutherford arrives in Taiwan. Photo: Zara Rutherford/Instagram


On December 11, she finally left the Russian Far East, crossed the Sea of Japan for six hours, and arrived in Seoul, South Korea. Her detour over the ocean was necessary in order to avoid North Korean airspace, which begins just south of Vladivostok.

During the flight, she had issues communicating with Seoul air traffic controllers. Luckily, she a kind KLM pilot relayed her messages to Seoul. From there, she traveled on to Taiwan on December 14. A day later, she flew to the Philippines. Everything was going well.

She intended to stay longer in the Philippines but elected to hurry to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia to avoid a tropical storm developing in the region. Named Rai, it turned into a super-typhoon with winds up to 260kph. She landed in Malaysia on December 16, a day ahead of schedule.

She is now 121 days into her circumnavigation.

Rutherford says goodbye to the Russian winter. Photo: Zara Rutherford/Instagram