Balloonists toast flight with a cup of tea

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The Independent Online
Champagne flowed in the Swiss control room, but the crew of Breitling Orbiter 3 yesterday celebrated their victorious first non-stop balloon flight 26,600 miles round the world with a cup of tea. British pilot Brian Jones, from Erlestoke, Wiltshire, and Swiss

psychiatrist Bertrand Piccard drifted into the record books shortly before 10am GMT as their balloon crossed an imaginary finishing line of 9.27 degrees longitude 35,000ft above Mauritania, northwest Africa. Jones' and Piccard's achievement, one of the last great challenges left to man, is reward enough, but they have the added bonus of pounds 600,000 in prize money from Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser beer. The balloon is expected over Libya today, crossing the Egyptian border at 2am tomorrow and landing at dawn, possibly in the Red Sea. "I am going to tell my wife I love her," Mr Jones said on the radio. "Then I'm going to have a cup of tea, like any good Englishman."

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