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Brazil priest carried off by balloons

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Tuesday Apr 22 06:50 AEST




AP - A Roman Catholic priest who floated off under hundreds of helium party balloons is missing off the southern coast of Brazil.


Rescuers in helicopters and small fishing boats were searching off the coast of Santa Catarina state, where pieces of balloons were found.


Reverend Adelir Antonio de Carli lifted off from the port city of Paranagua on Sunday afternoon, wearing a helmet, thermal suit and a parachute.


He was reported missing about eight hours later after losing contact with port authority officials, according to the treasurer of his Sao Cristovao parish, Denise Ga


Gallas said by telephone that the priest wanted to break a 19-hour record for the most hours lying with balloons to raise money for a spiritual rest-stop for truckers in Paranagua, Brazil's econd-largest port for agricultural products.


Some American adventurers have used helium balloons to emulate Larry Walters - who in 1982 rose three miles above Los Angeles in a lawn chair lifted by balloons.


A video of Carli posted on the G1 website of Globo TV showed the smiling 41-year-old priest slipping into a flight suit, being strapped to a seat attached to a huge column green, red, white and yellow balloons, and soaring into the air to the cheers of a crowd.


According to Gallas, the priest soared to an altitude of 6,000 metres then descended to about 2,500 metres for his planned flight to the city of Dourados, 750km north-west of his parish.


But winds pushed him in another direction, and Carli was some 50km off the coast when he last contacted Paranagua's port authority, Gallas said.


Carli had a GPS device, a satellite phone, a buoyant chair and was an experienced skydiver, Gallas said.


"We are absolutely confident he will be found alive and well, floating somewhere in the ocean," she said.


"He knew what he was doing and was fully prepared for any kind of mishap."



(What can you say about people who do these sort of things? He knew the risks and his intentions were good. I hope he is found alive and well.)




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The man had more faith than me, but sadly it looks like things did not go according to his plans. Can't say i'm altogether surprised at the outcome




Brazil's air force Thursday suspended efforts of finding a Roman Catholic priest, 42-year-old Reverend Adelir Antonion de Carli, presumed missing off the coast of Santa Catarina, where pieces of the hundreds of helium party balloons that carried him aloft (Sunday April 20) were found. After an initial climb to 20,000 feet, Denise Gallas, treasurer of Carli's parish told The Associated Press, Carli settled in at roughly 8,200 feet for his planned trip from Parangua to Dourados -- a city 465 miles away. At the time of his last communication with the port authority Carli was already 30 miles off the coast and stated he would soon crash in the Atlantic. Eight hours later, according to The Associated Press, he was reported missing. The priest had launched wearing a helmet, a thermal suit and a parachute. He was armed with his skydiving experience, a GPS, a satellite phone and a "buoyant chair," the AP reported.



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If he descended in a hurry, chances are he has ascended far above those balloons' max height into the unseen realm. Personally I'd rather not hurry my entry into glory by putting faith in balloons. As a man of the cloth I put my faith in Jesus Christ, while enjoying airborne experiences in a Jabiru.





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  • 2 months later...

Body in Atlantic could be missing balloon priest


By ABC reporter Nick Olle


Posted 1 hour 31 minutes ago


Missing since April: Father Adelir de Carli takes off on his ill-fated last flight (Reuters)


Brazilian officials are examining a body which was found floating in the Atlantic Ocean, amid fears that it is the Brazilian priest who went missing after taking off under a raft of party balloons in April.


Father Adelir de Carli was blown out to sea when trying to set a record for flying with hundreds of helium-filled balloons.


Workers on a tugboat operated by Brazil's state run oil company Petrobras discovered the body about 100 kilometres out to sea at the weekend.


Authorities say that pieces of fabric found with the body are consistent with the clothes Fr Carli was wearing when he took off.


But they stopped short of pronouncing that the body belonged to the priest, pointing out that other remains recovered after a helicopter crash in February have previously been wrongly attributed to him.


Officials will now seek blood samples from Fr Carli's relatives so they can perform conclusive DNA tests.



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