Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hot air balloon fatalities

Another expedition that has interested me is the 1897 Andrée Expedition. Swedish explorer Salomon August Andrée and two other men attempted, but failed, to reach the North Pole by balloon. They survived the crash of the balloon, but were ill-equipped for the trek across the ice and perished trying to reach safety. Their last camp was found 33 years after their deaths, resulting in the discovery of some film that was developed and the recovery of their bodies, which were cremated back in their home country.

On a related note, there was a fatality at this year's Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta last Friday. Stephen Lachendro of Butler, Pa., was killed when his balloon got tangled in some power lines and caught fire. Other fatalities have occurred in 1982, 1990, 1993, 1998, and last year. I hope to get to this festival one day, despite the dangers, but can already claim to have flown in a hot air balloon. I doubt that I will ever go up in a balloon again, but I didn't think I'd ever be able to go down into a cave again and we made that happen...

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