COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The Danish Air Force said Thursday it paid about $5,000 in compensation to a part-time Santa Claus whose reindeer died of heart failure when two fighter jets roared over his farm.
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The animal, named Rudolf, was grazing at the farm of Olavi Nikkanoff in central Denmark when the screaming F-16 jets passed overhead at low altitude in February.
The reindeer collapsed and died, leaving Nikkanoff with the prospect of only one animal pulling his sleigh next Christmas.
He complained to the air force, which agreed to compensate him for the cost of the reindeer and veterinary expenses.
Santa sings a slaying song
“We got a letter from Santa complaining about his reindeer’s death and looked into it seriously,” air force spokesman Capt. Morten Jensen said. The air force checked flight data and veterinary reports and concluded the planes had caused the animal’s death.
Nikkanoff said he would use the money to buy a new reindeer before Christmas.