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CNN 20: Balloon Circles the Earth, March 21, 1999

Aired March 21, 2000 - 1:49 p.m. ET

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PETER HUMI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the takeoff of Breitling was from one of the Alpine valleys in Switzerland. This was one of the traditional sites for heading off on a round-the-world ballooning expedition because the winds were favorable, the heights of the Alps, of course, giving that little boost.

Obviously, this was the first time in many, many events over the years, that a hot air balloon actually did manage to circumnavigate the globe, and thereby set a record that will never be beaten. They were the first to do it.

One of the most crucial was to see Piccard and Jones safely down somewhere in North Africa; they weren't sure where. They did actually make a successful landing in the deserts of Western Egypt.

After completing the mission, they were flown back up to Geneva where they received a hero's welcome. Both of them looked a little tired, but they were gay, I mean, they were exhilarated by the success of their mission. They gave a lot of their time to the press and the public that were gathered in Geneva to follow their progress.

It's quite an amazing sight for the daylight pictures of this huge deflated balloon lying across the desert of a cabin. You're right, I guess, it was a quite romantic end to, and safe landing to, what was a memorable expedition.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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