Officials confirm discovery of balloon priest’s remains

Officials confirm discovery of balloon priest’s remains


The body of the Brazilian ballooning priest, Fr. Adelir Antonio de Carli, has been discovered off the coast of Brazil local authorities confirmed.

The remains of the daring priest were found by the Anna Gabriela, a tugboat operated by Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil's state-controlled oil company, press officials told Bloomberg news earlier this month.

The 41 year-old priest garnered international media attention when he attempted to break a 19-hour flight time record with 1,000 helium balloons to raise money for a spiritual rest stop for truck drivers.  Although he said he was prepared for the journey, Fr. de Carli went missing a few hours after his departure from the Brazilian port city of Paranagua on April 20.

Father de Carli, who was an experienced skydiver, prepared for his ill-fated trip by packing a parachute, a thermal suit, a satellite phone, and a GPS device.  The priest’s craft also had a buoyant chair.

Police officials in Macae, the city closest to where the body was found, confirmed on Tuesday that DNA tests proved the remains are Fr. de Carli’s.

“We were almost certain that it was the priest due to various elements, such as the clothes and material used in the balloon trip," Macae's chief of police, Daniel Bandeira, said on Monday. "The DNA only confirmed our suspicions."

One member of Fr. de Carli’s family, his brother Moacir de Carli, told Agencia Estado news service on Tuesday that the news of his death came as a relief. The family was extensively involved in searching for the priest persisting in their search with the help of a rented twin engine plane after the Brazilian Air Force suspended its search on April 24.

“Now we can have a respectable burial service,” his brother said.

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