Two American balloonists look like being successful in their attempt to cross one of the world's highest peaks...
Two American balloonists look like being successful in their attempt to cross one of the world's highest peaks...in a hot-air balloon.
SYNOPSIS: Their attempt began before dawn in Ric Blanco, 150 kilometres-about 93 miles-from Santiago, as ??? air was pumped into their balloon. Then came the hazardous job of heating the air to make the balloon rise.
The balloonists are both Americans from Florida.
Their aim was to cross Aconcagua Peak, in the Andes, which is the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere, to land in neighbouring Argentina.
Despite the early start, crowds were out to watch as the two men, Bill Spoher, who's 39, and Kingswood Sprott, who's 45, made their final preparations. Then...farewells to their backup crew and friends...and they were on their way.
The crossing the two men set out to make has been done before....by two Argentinian balloonists. But that was more than 50 years ago. When they lifted off from Rio Blanco, they had a hazardous flight ahead of them to Mendoza, in Argentina. Early reports however suggested they would make it in safety. Not long after lifting off, the balloonists were reported to have reached an altitude of more than 8,000 metres-25,000 feet. That height should have been more than sufficient for them to cross Mount Aconcagua, which rises just short of 7,000 metres...that's a little under 23,000 feet.