Body of "flying priest" balloon adventurer recovered off Brazil

BrazilRio de Janeiro  - The body of "flying priest" balloon adventurer Adelir de Carli has been recovered some 100 kilometres off the Brazilian coast, local media reports said Saturday.

Father de Carli went missing in April while attempting to fly with 1,000 helium-filled party balloons tied to a chair. The body was recovered by a tugboat crew off Rio de Janeiro state, reports said.

Police said clothing, a rucksack and shoes left little doubt that the body was that of the priest. DNA tests would be conducted to provide final proof.
Father de Carli, 42, had set out on April 20 on what was planned to be a 20-hour flight from the town of Paranagua, in the state of Parana, to Dourados, in neighbouring Mato Grosso do Sul, to break a 19-hour world record and "to promote religion," as he put it.

He had also been seeking to raise money to build a chapel and to contribute to the cause of long-distance lorry drivers demanding longer breaks.

He went missing eight hours into the flight attempt as the wind blew him off course towards the sea. Rescue teams at sea later found the balloons the Roman Catholic priest had been using and fragments of what may have been his chair some 50 kilometres from the seaside resort of Florianopolis, in the state of Santa Catarina.

Authorities feared at the time he had fallen into the sea and been dragged south. They broadened the scope of the search, hoping to find De Carli at sea or on an island in the states of Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul.

On January 13, the priest made a successful attempt to fly supported by balloons, travelling 110 kilometres from Ampere, in Parana, to the Argentine town of San Antonio, in a four-hour flight. He used 500 balloons and reached an altitude of 5,300 metres

Friends did not regard de Carli as a "crazy priest" but as an experienced flier and parachutist, who completed several survival courses. (dpa)