Two Swiss gas ballooners landed near Labrador City on Tuesday, after an epic journey of more than 2236 miles.
Labrador City Fire Rescue received a call from Switzerland stating that a gas balloon was making an emergency landing in a wooded area just south of Lorraine Lake.
“At first, I thought it was a joke,” said Fire Chief Joe Power.
After a few calls, the Fire Chief realized that the ball was competing in the America’s Challenge long distance gas balloon race, held annually as part of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta., the biggest balloon festival in the world.
The ball, which landed at Labrador City, was driven by Nicolas Tièche and Laurent Sciboz of Switzerland. They took off from Albuquerque on Saturday night, stayed at altitude for nearly 60 hours and traveled a distance of 3666 kilometers. They won first place and set a new world record for the longest distance traveled in a gas balloon.
The trip by the Swiss team was 450.5 kilometers longer than the previous record. The balloon, whose cabin is just one square meter, crossed nine US states and three Canadian provinces, sometimes at speeds above 100 km / h.
“It’s great to start in the New Mexico desert and finish here in Labrador City,” said Sciboz.
For his part, Nicolas Tèche said they had not planned to land in Labrador, but rather “somewhere in Quebec”. “We had information that the trajectory would be long, probably to Quebec, but in the last night, we had wind faster than expected, which allowed us to reach Labrador,” he said. said.
The two men took turns all the way, so that each one could sleep while the other piloted the balloon. They also had a ground crew to help map their route according to the winds.
Neither driver was injured during the landing, and they are currently in Labrador City to find a solution to take out their ball, still in the woods.
The second place team traveled 2150 miles and landed near the Quebec-New Brunswick border.
Mitchel Hodge is the lead editor for Desert Sentinel. Mitchel has written for several publications including the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Huffington Post. Mitchel is based in Reno and covers issues affecting his city and the state of Nevada. When he’s not busy writing, Mitchel enjoys woodworking.