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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Tuesday, 18 September, 2001, 15:04 GMT 16:04 UK
US attacks halt Everest balloon bid
Everest
Nobody has ever flown a balloon solo across Everest
China has refused permission to a British adventurer to set off from Tibet in a hot air balloon for a flight over Mount Everest.

David Hempleman-Adams had intended to fly solo in an open-basket balloon over the world's highest peak into Nepal, a feat which has never been done before.

In a statement, the expedition organisers said: "It is understood that at this time of increased security, particularly regarding airspace, after last week's tragedy in America, that any loss of contact or communication with the Cadbury balloon during the flight could prove a security and safety risk."

The organisers added that they fully respected the decision, and said Mr Hempleman-Adams was hoping to complete the challenge at a later date.

David Hempleman-Adams
Mr Hempleman-Adams flew to the North Pole last year

A decade ago, two teams of two people each made a balloon flight over Everest, but no one has done it alone.

The north face of 29,000-foot (8,850-metre) Mount Everest is in China, while the south face is in Nepal.

Mr Hempleman-Adams, 44, would have been equipped with high-altitude climbing gear, food packets and enough oxygen to last 10 days.

The adventurer, who last year flew to the North Pole by balloon, said he first got the idea of flying over Everest when he climbed the peak eight years ago.

He is currently heading back from his base camp in Tibet to the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, en route to Britain.

An expedition spokeswoman said it was now unlikely that Mr Hempleman-Adams would attempt the flight before next year.

See also:

03 Jun 00 | Europe
Arctic balloonist's rocky landing
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