Balloon rivals Branson, Fossett team up for around-the-world attemptSeptember 10, 1998
Web posted at: 7:16 p.m. EDT (2316 GMT)
LONDON (CNN) -- After making several unsuccessful attempts on their own to circle the world nonstop in a balloon, archrivals Richard Branson and Steve Fossett announced Thursday that they will join forces in a new attempt to make aviation history.
The two millionaire adventurers, along with Swedish balloonist Per Lindstrand, plan to take off in November from Morocco in Branson's balloon, the Virgin Global Challenger. For the first time, they will also have a backup balloon in case their main balloon is damaged.
"We're not the kind of people who give up," Branson said. "There's nothing more spectacular and more beautiful than just being blown by the wind."
Branson, 46, a flamboyant British businessman, has made two unsuccessful attempts to circle the world in a balloon. Last December, after his craft made a frightening plunge to the floor of the Algerian desert, he vowed to give up the quest.
Just last month, Fossett, 54, an American who made a fortune as a commodities trader, also vowed to stop trying to circumnavigate the world after he plunged 29,000 feet into the Coral Sea off the coast of Australia, short of his landing site in Argentina.
Fossett was still on the rescue boat that plucked him from the ocean when he received a call from Branson, suggesting a partnership.
Branson said the co-pilots would be democratic about making decisions in emergencies, but quipped that if there are serious disagreements, "we've all got parachutes."
Both Fossett and Branson said their wives did not like their ballooning hobby but nevertheless understood them. But Lindstrand's former spouse was less sympathetic.
"Six years ago, my wife said, 'It's me or ballooning.' So I divorced her," he said.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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