Helium balloon touches down off coast of Mexico after record-breaking six day journey

Pilots left Japan and travelled across the North Pacific Ocean

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The Independent Online

Pilots of a helium-filled balloon have successfully completed a daring flight across the Pacific Ocean, landing safely “just off the coast” of Baja Mexico this afternoon.

Troy Bradley, from Albuquerque, and Leonid Tiukhtyaev, from Moscow, left Saga in Japan six days ago, tracking a steady route across the North Pacific Ocean and ending up off the coast of Mexico.

At exactly 6.30am (local time) Mr Bradley tweeted that the helium balloon had successfully come down, marking the end to their trip.

It was not the only success of the day. Earlier the helium balloon, named the Two Eagles, passed the absolute world record set for time aloft, previously unbeaten since 1981. The record was confirmed at ten minutes to nine later that same morning.

The balloon has now travelled 6,646 miles. The last record holders travelled 5,260 miles.

The state of the art helium-filled capsule of Two Eagle was built in Albuquerque and weighs just 100 kg.

A balloon’s fuel consists of how much ballast it can carry. Thanks to the light design of the capsule, 75 per cent of Two Eagle’s weight is disposable – much of which in 4,500 brightly coloured sandbags.


The balloon itself has a diameter of just over 90ft, is 141ft long and, enlarged, is 350,000 cubic foot in size.

The previous longest distance flight ever made in a ‘gas’ balloon was set by four men in Double Eagle V, who lifted off from Nagashima, Japan, in 1981 and landed three and a half days later in California.