US Balloonists Plunged at 50 Mph, Likely Dead

Friday, 01 Oct 2010 04:28 PM

 

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BARI, Italy (AP) — Race organizers say a pair of American balloonists plunged toward the Adriatic Sea at 50 mph (80 kph) before disappearing from radar screens and likely didn't survive.

Flight director Don Cameron said Friday that high rate of descent, if confirmed, leads him to be "very pessimistic" about the fate of veteran pilots Richard Abruzzo and Carol Rymer Davis.

Abruzzo and Davis were participating in the 54th Gordon Bennett Gas Balloon Race when contact was lost Wednesday morning in rough weather over the Adriatic Sea.

A statement from the race organizers said: "At this rate of descent to the surface, survival would be unlikely."

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

BARI, Italy (AP) — The flight director for a balloon race says Croatian radar showed that a missing pair of American balloonists plunged at a rapid 50 mph (80 kph) before disappearing.

Flight director Don Cameron says that high rate of descent, if confirmed, leads him to be pessimistic about the fate of veteran pilots Richard Abruzzo and Carol Rymer Davis.

Abruzzo and Davis were participating in the 54th Gordon Bennett Gas Balloon Race when contact was lost Wednesday morning over the Adriatic Sea.

Cameron said he received information Friday from Zagreb's air traffic control indicating the balloon was at 5,300 feet (1,615 meters) and descended at a rate of 50 mph until 600 feet (180 meters).

Italian, U.S. and Croatian search and rescue teams are scouring the area.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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