Sunday 21 January 2018

Balloon race pair feared dead

Two missing US balloonists were feared dead after their craft suffered "a sudden and unexpected failure" over the Adriatic.

Organisers of the Gordon Bennett Gas Balloon Race said Richard Abruzzo and Carol Rymer Davis were likely to have been killed in a tragic accident off the Italian coast.

The US pair have been missing since Wednesday morning when race organisers lost contact with them as they were flying between Italy and Croatia.

They were one of 20 teams that set off last Saturday night from farmland near Bristol in the annual race to fly the furthest distance.

Last night a race spokesman said: "Both families have been informed that the control centre received recorded transponder readings from the air traffic control unit where the balloon had last been tracked.

"Transponder readings show the height, time and location of a balloon in a coded form. The balloon had a moderate descent rate initially, which then increased into a high rate of descent, to around 50mph.

"At this rate of descent to the surface, survival would be unlikely."


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