Missing US Balloonists Found Dead

Fishing boat finds remains in Adriatic Sea

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 7, 2010 1:20 AM CST | Updated Dec 7, 2010 4:50 AM CST

(Newser) – An Italian fishing boat has found the remains of two American balloonists who vanished during a cross-Europe race two months ago. Veteran balloonists Richard Abruzzo, 47, and Carol Rymer Davis, 65, were still inside the balloon's gondola when it was hauled out of the Adriatic Sea, AP reports. Contact with the balloon was lost as it flew over the sea in rough weather.

Investigators, who suspect the balloon may have been hit by lightning, will examine the wreckage. The find "was hoped for in the back of everyone's mind since it provides an end to this drawn-out tragedy for both families," Davis' family said in a statement. "As avid members of the ballooning community, Carol and Richard would be pleased that anything that can be learned by experts from today's discovery will lead to a safer experience for all balloonists."

The remains of the balloon gondola used by Abruzzo and Davis to participate in the 54th Gordon Bennett Gas Balloon Race, are seen in Vieste, southern Italy.
The remains of the balloon gondola used by Abruzzo and Davis to participate in the 54th Gordon Bennett Gas Balloon Race, are seen in Vieste, southern Italy.   (AP Photo/Donato Fasano)
This  Sept. 25, 2010 file photo shows balloonists Carol Rymer Davis, left, and Richard Abruzzo launching for the Gordon Bennett gas balloon race at Bristol, England.
This Sept. 25, 2010 file photo shows balloonists Carol Rymer Davis, left, and Richard Abruzzo launching for the Gordon Bennett gas balloon race at Bristol, England.   (AP Photo/Robin Macey, File)
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