Remains of American Balloonists Lost in Bennett Race Found
December 9, 2010 — The remains of missing American balloonists Richard Abruzzo and Carol Rymer-Davis, found in their balloon’s gondola, were discovered by a fishing vessel off the coast of Italy in the Adriatic Sea on Monday, December 6. The two, who competed in the 2010 Gordon Bennett Balloon Race, were last contacted by the Italian Coast Guard on September 29 when they reported their hydrogen USA2 balloon had run into severe thunderstorms over the Adriatic.
Examination of the radar data just before losing contact showed the balloon made a moderate decent, followed by a 50-mph plunge toward the water. Race organizers had stated that survival of such a rapid descent was “unlikely.”
After documents found in the gondola confirmed the identities of both balloonists, race director Don Cameron told the BBC, “It’s very sad news but it was, of course, expected. It will give closure to the families. Having absolutely no information at all has been very distressing for them.”