Russian breaks world hot air balloon record

Perth, July 23 (IANS) Russian adventurer Fedor Konyukhov has broken the record for the fastest circumnavigation of the earth in a hot air balloon in just over 11 days.

Konyukhov, who set off from Western Australia’s Avon Valley on July 12, has gone past the point he needed to fly over to break the record and is expected to land in the state’s Wheatbelt later on Saturday, the ABC Australia reported.

The 65-year-old has broken the 14-year-old record set by American adventurer Steve Fossett.

Fossett was the only other person to circumnavigate the world in a hot air balloon, which he completed in 13-and-a-half days.

Konyukhov’s route took him from Australia to above New Zealand, the Pacific Ocean, South America, the Cape of Good Hope and the Southern Ocean. His balloon is 183 ft tall and uses helium and hot air.

One of Konyukhov’s crew members is his son, Oscar, who described his father’s achievement as a miracle.

He said not many people had landed the balloon before and it was a “very dangerous operation”.

“We have some wind now so we’ll wait until the very late afternoon for the wind to drop and then we will guide him to a big field to slow down and descend,” ABC quoted Oscar as saying.



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