BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Spanish Portuguese Caribbean
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Americas  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Friday, 28 June, 2002, 10:26 GMT 11:26 UK
Southwards drift irks US balloonist
Steve Fossett crosses Puerto Montt, Chile, on Wednesday
Fossett is drifting towards the Antarctic Circle
American balloonist Steve Fossett is reported to be making rapid headway across the South Atlantic in his latest attempt to fly solo around the world.

However, his Spirit of Freedom balloon is flying over pack ice uncomfortably close to the Antarctic Circle, and Mr Fossett fears winds may carry him too far south.

The millionaire adventurer says in an update on his web site: ''I don't want to get down there and find it's no longer possible to make the turn to get back north.''

Nine days after setting off from Australia, Mr Fossett is well into the second half of his journey, with his next site of land scheduled to be the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.

Sixth attempt

Weather reports suggest Mr Fossett, 58, could face thunderstorms off the Horn of Africa, and will then have to cross the Indian Ocean to reach his goal back in Australia.


It's frightfully dangerous, yes, but I believe I can make it.

Steve Fossett

This latest attempt to circumnavigate the globe solo is his sixth.

Mr Fossett says his progress has been smoother than his last attempt in 2001, when a landing in southern Brazil meant he would not have had enough oxygen to complete the journey to Australia.

''This year I've got the working equipment. Frightfully dangerous, yes, but I believe I can make it,'' he said on his website.

However, mission control director Joe Ritchie has rescue options planned in case the balloon is forced to ditch in the South Atlantic.

On the most southerly leg of the journey, 'Spirit of Freedom is enduring outside temperatures of -40C Celsius and winds of around 120 knots, mission control reported.

Close call

While crossing the Andes on the previous leg, Fossett had to fight a three-hour battle to save his mission after his balloon went into a series of dramatic leaps and dives.

The journey has seen him spend much of his time attempting to avoid storms around South America.

On Tuesday he came "perilously close" to smashing into the ocean.

Mr Fossett's five earlier solo attempts ended with crash-landings in spots such as the Coral Sea off the north-east coast of Australia and a cattle ranch in Brazil.


Map showing projected flight path of the balloon

Click here to return

See also:

27 Jun 02 | Americas
24 Jun 02 | Asia-Pacific
23 Jun 02 | Asia-Pacific
21 Jun 02 | Asia-Pacific
20 Jun 02 | Asia-Pacific
10 Oct 01 | England
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Americas stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes