In a practice run, de Carli successfully flew over fifteen miles for four hours while attached to 600 balloons.
During this trial run, de Carli reportedly reached an altitude of 17,390 feet.
In order to break the flight record of nineteen hours, de Carli set out on April 20, 2008 on a chair attached to 1,000 balloons along with a parachute, waterproof clothes, a helmet, a mobile phone, a flotation device, a GPS device, and enough food and water to last five days.
Unfortunately, shortly after taking off, de Carli drifted towards the coast and lost communication with his team. Although he had experience cluster ballooning and skydiving, officials believe that the priest was not familiar with how to work his GPS, which could have ultimately helped rescue teams find him as he lost service.
Reaching a height of 19,700 feet before losing touch, de Carli went missing, and his odds of survival gradually decreased before Brazilian authorities gave up the search.
Over a month later, the lower half of de Carli’s body was retrieved from the ocean by an offshore oil rig.
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The remains were originally identified by the clothing, and DNA testing with de Carli’s brother later proved that it was the deceased priest.
While the priest’s death won him a posthumous Darwin Award, it should definitely be noted that the man died while pushing his own limits in order to support his faith and foster the charity of his people.
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