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Fossett Breaks Flight Record for Solo Trip in a Balloon

August 16, 2001|Times Wire Services

SANTIAGO, Chile — U.S. balloonist Steve Fossett has broken the world record for duration of a solo balloon flight, but the real prize of completing a round-the-globe journey was still distant Wednesday.

Fossett was traveling 25 mph about 26,000 feet above the South Pacific, 250 miles from Chile, as of midafternoon local time.

He was expected to cross the Chilean coast later Wednesday or early today and then would need about 12 hours to cross the Andes mountains.

Fossett, a 57-year-old millionaire who took off from Australia on Aug. 4, on Tuesday broke the unofficial solo flight duration record of 10 days and three hours.

His ground crew said Fossett will have enough oxygen to get over the Andes, which soar above 22,000 feet, but would need to fly lower later in the journey to conserve supplies.

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