ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — Leonardo DiCaprio braved scary skies to get to a summit devoted to saving the world's tigers, donating $1 million to the cause and earning high praise from Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
The Hollywood star arrived in St. Petersburg on Tuesday after two flight dramas, Putin said, just managing to make the meeting where officials from the 13 countries where tigers still live in the wild agreed to a program to save the iconic big cats from extinction.
DiCaprio was one of more than 200 people aboard a Moscow-bound Delta Air Lines flight that had to return to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on Sunday when other pilots reported seeing a flash in one engine of the departing plane. The actor then took a private jet that had to land in Finland early Tuesday for refueling because of strong wind, Putin said.
"Not everyone would be willing to take a plane again after what Mr. DiCaprio experienced, but he did," he told the audience at a rock concert dedicated to the tiger conservation effort. "Here, in Russia, we call such a person a 'real man'."