Floating Down To Rio

If you were a Brazilian priest who wanted to raise money for a spiritual rest-stop for truckers, wouldn’t you naturally strap hundreds of helium party balloons to yourself?

SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) — A Roman Catholic priest who floated off under hundreds of helium party balloons was missing Monday off the southern coast of Brazil.
Rescuers in helicopters and small fishing boats were searching off the coast of Santa Catarina state, where pieces of balloons were found.
The Rev. Adelir Antonio de Carli lifted off from the port city of Paranagua on Sunday afternoon, wearing a helmet, thermal suit and a parachute.
He was reported missing about eight hours later after losing contact with port authority officials, according to the treasurer of his Sao Cristovao parish, Denise Gallas.

He was emulating Ken’s favorite, Larry Walters, but Larry had the “sense” to use weather balloons and not freakin’ party balloons, by which I assume they mean those flimsy Mylar things.
Not surprisingly, things did not go as planned for the new Dumont

According to Gallas, the priest soared to an altitude of 20,000 feet (6,000 meters) then descended to about 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) for his planned flight to the city of Dourados, 465 miles (750 kilometers) northwest of his parish.
But winds pushed him in another direction, and Carli was some 30 miles (50 kilometers) off the coast when he last contacted Paranagua’s port authority, Gallas said.

He disappeared over the ocean.

Like Nena sang

99 dreams I have had,
In every one a red balloon,
It’s all over and I’m standin’ pretty,
In this dust that was a city,
If I could find a souvenir,
Just to prove the world was here,
And here is a red balloon,
I think of you and let it go

Godspeed, Padre.

11 Responses to “Floating Down To Rio”

  1. Oh man. I saw a headline in the morning news emails, something like “Priest Missing in South Atlantic”. I should have clicked on it.

  2. ricki says:

    On the news site, those don’t look like any party balloons I’ve ever seen – they look more like weather balloons.
    That said…I’m amazed he was able to get airborne. It took something like 3000 of the “little” helium balloons to lift a 4 year old child when they tried it on Mythbusters.
    (Mythbusters is fast replacing “The Simpsons” as my “there’s an application to everything in life from that show.” I don’t know if that speaks more to the decline of The Simpsons or the increasing weirdness of the world we live in)

  3. Suzette says:

    I’ve been trying to work 99 Red Balloons into a blogpost for months now. Congratulations.

  4. Mr. Bingley says:

    ricki, they certainly are more substantive than the mylar thingies I was thinking of (although I kind of wish they were and all had Darth Vader’s face plastered on them) but they really don’t look like much more than big latex balloons in the video, especially in those bright Brazilian colors.

  5. Mr. Bingley says:

    I’ve got that groovin’ 80’s beat running through my head, Suzette.

  6. Skyler says:

    Actually, they look like grocery store balloons, not even mylar.
    What an idiot.

  7. Boy, you can come up with some crazy ass ideas when your hitting the cachaça hard during a festival. Bless his poor heart ~ I hope they find him safely bobbing corklike on the surface somewhere.

  8. The_Real_JeffS says:

    I think Skyler’s right, those are simple party balloons, with minimal tensile strength, selected more for their pretty colors than durability.
    Oi, what a fool.

  9. Charles Darwin says:

    We’ve got a winnah!

  10. Mr. Bingley says:

    Sorry Chuck, but as a Catholic priest he took himself out of the gene pool years ago.
    In theory, at least.

  11. MikeP says:

    Man, that reminds me of this movie: http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi2929721625/
    I recommend it, btw.

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