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Solo Spirit balloonist rescued.

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DPAO 160198

Tuesday July 18, 1998




This morning at 8.45am, Mr Steve Fossett, the Solo Spint balloonist who ditched in the Coral Sea, boarded the Replenishment Tanker, Her Majesty New Zealand Ship ENDEAVOUR from the Austra lian sailing vessel Atlanta.


Mr Fossett had been rescued from his life raft, dropped by French Naval 'Guardian' aircraft, by the Australian sailing vessel ‘Atlanta’ last night at 9.30pm.


Royal Australian Airforce P3C Orion and C130 Hercules aircraft remained in contact with Mr Fossett throughout the ordeal, dropping an additional life raft, food and water.


Mr Fossett remained onboard 'Atlanta' overnight until the sailing vessel navigated the Bellona Reef so he could transfer in deep water to HMNZS ENDEAVOUR.


HMNZS ENDEAVOUR was steaming towards Australia for naval exercises due to commence in Darwin in two weeks time.


HMNZS ENDEAVOUR is about 720 nautical miles South East of Townsville and is due to arrive in port in the late afternoon/early evening of Thursday 20th August.


Mr Fossett was unharmed in the balloon ditching. He required no medical attention and is in good spirits aboard the HMNZS ENDEAVOUR.


Atlanta will remain in the area to search for the balloon and its gondola.


Media Information


Mr Fossett has requested all media agencies wishing to arrange interviews to contact Ms Judy Jasper, Media Director at Balloon Mission Control, Washington University, St Louis Missouri USA on 0011 1 314 935 8275 or 0011 1 314935 5408.


Media agencies requesting interviews with the Commanding Officer of HMNZS ENDEAVOUR, Commander Kevin Corles, are invited to call Lieutenant Emma Williams at Maritime Headquarters on 02 9563 4627 who will arrange contact with the ship.


A press conference will be conducted aboard HMNZS ENDEAVOUR once the ship arrives in Townsville. A media alert will be issued when HMNZS ENDEAVOUR's arrival details are confirmed. Major Rob Barnes in Townsville will co-ordinate activities and is available on (07) 47717963 or mobile 0418 633439.