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First Pictures of Fossett's Downed Balloon

Aired August 17, 2001 - 11:50   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: These are the first pictures of Steve Fossett's balloon. If you've been with us this morning you know that we were showing it live here when they decided that back at mission control in St. Louis to abort the mission because of some problems they had with thunderstorms and with Fossett not having -- maybe not having enough oxygen to make it across the Atlantic. These are the first pictures were getting of the actual balloon on the ground.

Steve Fossett was with us -- well, actually, he was on a conference call moments ago describing the process of actually bringing this balloon down; it was somewhere around 10,000 feet when it got through the first storms, and then they decided to go ahead and go through the process of bringing it down, which they did in stages.

And he said it came down at one point, when it first made contact with the ground it dragged for about a mile. He then cut the cables that was attaching the balloon, then was dragged another mile or so, and then, as you see here, this structure then snagged itself on this row of trees.

Now this is in southeastern -- perhaps the southern-most portion of Brazil.

Fossett, we understand, is OK. We don't know who these people are. I don't believe that they...

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: That's definitely not Steve Fossett.

HARRIS: That's not Steve Fossett.

PHILLIPS: Maybe they're celebrating that he's alright.

HARRIS: They could be celebrating the fact that he's OK.

But we do know that Steve Fossett is in southern Brazil. He's got helicopters on the way to pick him up, and there's also a plane that's been circling around that was trailing him.

They've made contact with him. He's been on the phone with the folks back in mission control. He is OK. He says, actually, he feels better physically now than he did a while ago, when he was up in the air. He's going to be spending the night with the couple there until he can actually get a ride out of there. So we'll continue to follow that and we'll bring you all the latest stories and pictures and people, whatever else we can find, from Brazil. So make sure you stay with us.

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