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Sun, Jul 06, 2008

Missing 'Balloon Priest's' Body Found In Atlantic

Disappeared During April Flight Attached To Party Balloons

Officials believe the body of a Brazilian priest missing since April has been located in the Atlantic, about 60 miles from land.

As ANN reported, Reverend Adelir Antonio di Carli disappeared April 20, during an attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for human flight using party balloons. He went missing eight hours after taking off from Paranagua, suspended under some 1,000 helium-filled balloons.

Deutsche Presse-Agentur reports a body believed to be the missing priest's was recovered by a tugboat crew Friday. Officials plan to conduct DNA testing to be certain, but police say clothing, shoes and personal items recovered with the body leave little doubt they've found di Carli.

Reverend di Carli was no stranger to flying under balloons -- he made a similar attempt in January, reportedly climbing over 16,000 feet using 500 balloons. He was making his latest attempt not only in hopes of setting a new record, but also to draw attention to the need for rest stops for Brazilian truck drivers, and to promote religion.

Questions remain concerning di Carli's preparedness for his fateful flight. Shortly after the priest went missing, a Brazilian reporter stated that despite carrying a GPS unit and wearing a thermal, waterproof flight suit, di Carli was woefully unprepared for his planned 19+ hour journey.

Among those issues, said Folha de Sao Paolo reporter Barbara Gancia, was that di Carli did not know how to operate his global positioning receiver.

Unfortunately, circumstances seem to support that claim. di Carli reportedly encountered bad weather shortly after takeoff, that pushed him out to sea off Brazil's southern coast. In his last communication with those monitoring his flight, the priest said he was having problems staying in the air.

FMI: www.guinnessworldrecords.com

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