1000 giant party balloons and the lost priest

April 23, 2008

I’m really not sure what to say about today’s post. I first heard the story on the radio last night while drifting off to sleep and put it down to my semi-concious state. This morning’s news confirmed it was all sadly true, and not at all a joke… unless someone cares to enlighten me?

Brazilian priest missing after balloon lift-off

Reuters in Brasilia

The Guardian, Wednesday April 23 2008

A Brazilian priest is missing after drifting out to sea while trying to set a record for a flight using helium-filled party balloons, authorities said yesterday.

Father Adelir Antonio de Carli began his flight suspended in a harness-like seat from 1,000 balloons on Sunday in the southern port of Paranaguá.

He had intended to fly west for 20 hours – the record is 19 hours – but unexpected winds carried the 42-year-old Roman Catholic priest out over the south Atlantic on a south-easterly course.

Denise Gallas, the coordinator of the parish where De Carli works, said he was last heard from on Sunday evening, when he used his mobile phone to give his coordinates. “He was already over the ocean then,” she said.

De Carli, who flew about 55 miles before losing contact, had wanted to draw attention to the work of his parish in Paranaguá, which is largely aimed at lorry drivers who transport goods to and from the port.

Rescue workers in helicopters and fishing boats searched the coast south of Paranaguá, in Santa Catarina state. “We found bits of balloons all along the coast,” said João dos Santos, deputy fire commander in the coastal town of São Francisco do Sul.

De Carli’s seat was lined with airtight pockets that can be pumped up and there are several islands in the region that he could have washed up on, Dos Santos said. “The search will continue for some time,” he said.

The chaplain, who had reached an altitude of more than 5,000 metres (16,400ft), carried water, cereal bars and energy capsules. During a test flight in January, he was blown across the border into Argentina.


UPDATE: Sadly, Brazilian authorities said yesterday that DNA tests on a body found off the coast confirm that it is that of Father Adelir. RIP to a man with a dream of flying.


5 Responses to “1000 giant party balloons and the lost priest”

  1. M Says:

    No! Really????

  2. swimmingfighting girl Says:

    did they find him then?

  3. sunburn Says:

    no, and they have scaled down the search operation… 😦


  4. Anali3 Says:

    So what happen after all have they found him or any sings?

  5. sunburn Says:

    nothing apart from some burst balloons along the coast…:-(

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