Hot air balloon rides, from Gloucester to Ghana, are extremely common, but there are not many that could match one of the most unusual flights ever to have taken place, which occurred recently in the Balkans.
An Austrian hot air balloon pilot flew a balloon at a depth of 206 metres underground in a deep Croatian cave.
Ivan Trifonov completed the ballooning feat by piloting his hot air balloon all the way to the bottom of Mamet cave, which is located in Obrovac in the Velebit nature park.
This most unusual hot air balloon flight lasted for 25 minutes and was completed in a unique craft, which had to be designed especially for the occasion. Having been adapted for an underground launch, it was much smaller than a typical hot air balloon and this made it more difficult for Trifonov to pilot. Rather than riding in the usual basket, he had to sit atop two gas cylinders and a framework of iron pipes.
Speaking to the Guardian about his achievement, Trifonov said:
“I don’t believe this is going to be repeated by anyone ever again.”
Trifonov is already a four-time world record holder for hot air ballooning feats, including one for being the first person to fly over the North and South Poles in a balloon.
It is possible to watch Trifonov’s cave descent on YouTube, as the whole attempt was filmed for posterity with support from the Croatian Tourist Board.