Wayward balloon set for another uplifting experience

Richard Branson's flyaway balloon canopy (above) was yesterday under guard in Algeria - and tied to a tree in case it tried to escape again, writes Charles Arthur. Last night Mr Branson's co-pilot, Per Lindstrand, was preparing to go there and take it back by aircraft to the airbase outside Marrakesh, Morocco, where it escaped its moorings after a gust broke one of the securing ropes on Tuesday. The team hope to launch a fresh attempt on the non-stop ballooning record - and particularly to circumnavigate the world - at the weekend. `Hopefully we will be ready by Sunday if the weather conditions are good and the balloon is not too damaged,' Mr Branson said. Four other teams are aiming for the record.

Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid