Balloonists Rescued Near Hudson Bay

The emergency rescue team from a remote Northern Ontario diamond mine was called to rescue a couple of balloonists who won their competition but could have lost their lives in the process. Polish pilot Krzysztof Zapart and American teammate Andy Cayton landed their gas-filled balloon about 100 km. from the De Beers Victor mine on the muskeg of far northern Ontario, not too far from Hudson Bay. They were taking part in the Americas Challenge Gas Balloon race and their flight originated at the Albuquerque Balloon Festival, more than 1,600 miles from where they landed.

The team landed in a muskeg wilderness and the mine was the closest settlement. The six balloons that took part were all tracked so their position was always known and when the winners finally ended their flight the Rescue Coordination Centre asked the mine for help. The mine, which is not operating but is maintained, dispatched their emergency helicopter to pick up the balloonists. They enjoyed a meal and a hot shower before taking a contractor charter flight to Timmins.