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Saturday, 12 August, 2000, 14:35 GMT 15:35 UK
Balloonists break European record
Balloon launch in Bristol
Sky's the limit: Ballooners go for the record
The record for the biggest ever mass balloon launch in Europe has been broken at an event in Bristol after a third attempt.

A multi-coloured collection of 132 balloons took off within 55 minutes of each other at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, setting a new European record.


We have had unusually good ballooning conditions

Susan Tanner
The mass launch, which began at 0630 BST, was the fiesta's attempt to improve on the previous record of 129 launches in 65 minutes, set by themselves in 1987.

A new European "density" record of getting 117 balloons off the ground in 30 minutes was also set on Saturday morning.

Organisers of the event said it was a "magnificent sight" seeing so many balloons in the air at the same time in such clear flying conditions over Bristol.

Record-breaking balloonists
A record is set over Bristol in the early morning
The two records follow another set by balloonists at the fiesta on Friday, when they beat their own record of 90 launches in 30 minutes.

Event organiser Susan Tanner said: "We are really delighted to have set a new European record. We have had unusually good ballooning conditions and we hope we continue to have a brilliant weekend."

The four-day fiesta at the Ashton Court Estate near the Clifton Suspension Bridge is now in its 22nd year.

'Night glow'

It opened on Thursday when an estimated 100,000 people watched a spectacular "night glow".

This involved balloons lighting up their inflated canopies with their burners, accompanied by music and fireworks.

The event is Europe's largest hot air balloon festival, with some 150 balloons taking part this year.

It is also one the UK's biggest annual outdoor events, with 500,000 spectators expected over the weekend.

Duck-shaped balloon
A cheeky balloon heads for the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol
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