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Sight-saving fundraisers in it for the long haul

NOW that's just plane crazy.

Curious onlookers at Dublin Airport were stunned yesterday to see a plane being dragged along the runway by nothing more than people power.

The plane pull saw six teams attempt to haul a FedEx Airbus A300 -- weighing a staggering 85 tonnes -- for a distance of 12 feet, all in the name of charity.

That does not sound like a huge distance -- but when you consider we are talking about the weight of 21 elephants or 42 family cars, then anything more than an inch of movement is a triumph.

The teams, which battled it out in the ultimate strong-man competition, were comprised of people working in the aviation industry.

The event was watched by hundreds of onlookers and was supported by FedEx Express and the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA).

It was organised to raise money for the sight-saving charity, ORBIS.

More than €10,000 raised yesterday will help ORBIS Ireland to reach its vision of restoring sight to rural villagers in Ethiopia by the end of 2015.

Over a third of children in Ethiopia are affected by trachoma, a blinding yet completely preventable disease.

The areas affected have no primary eye-care services and a simple surgical procedure can transform people's lives.

Since 1982 ORBIS has treated more than 10 million people for blindness-related diseases in 87 developing countries worldwide.

Moss Cox, chairman of ORBIS Ireland, said: "We're delighted with the level of support we've had at the plane pull over the past couple of years. The events have raised more than €40,000, which will go a along way to help us address Ethiopia's high prevalence of avoidable blindness.

"These areas have no primary eye care, a simple surgery can transform people's lives."

Irish Independent