Sunday, March 18, 2012

Search Intensifies for Lost Hot Air Balloonist

A hot air balloon piloted by Edward Ristaino went down Friday evening somewhere over Ben Hill County in Georgia. On Sunday, more aircrafts were in the skies and more crews on the ground looking for the 63-year old North Carolina man and any sign of his downed balloon.

The balloonist incountered severe weather while taking skydivers aloft told the divers to quickly exit the basket, he'd handle the balloon alone.

Authorities say Ristaino acted as a hero when he told the skydivers in the balloon's basket to jump out and let him handle the storm. With the loss of the extra weight the balloon became even more difficult to control.  

"We have limited amount of information, what we have gleaned through radio communications and radio traffic, we have the discussion with some of the skydivers that left the basket. All that indicated that he was taking care of the skydivers." 
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Balloon pilot Edward Ristaino

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