Colorado

Oct 6, 2010 9:09 AM by Associated Press

Lost balloonists missed by fellow pilots

They were two of the biggest names in the sport of balloon-racing - both hall of famers, world record holders and winners of some of ballooning's most prestigious awards.

The apparent deaths of veteran pilots Richard Abruzzo and Carol Rymer Davis during a European gas balloon race has rocked the sport and cast a pall over a major balloon fiesta happening this week in New Mexico. There has been sobbing, teary eyes, hugs and the sharing of stories among those at the fiesta who knew the pilots.

Albuquerque pilot Kim Vesely says Abruzzo and Davis had a passion for life and for ballooning. Vesely and others gathered at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta are preparing for a special tribute that will precede the start of the fiesta's cross-country gas balloon race on Thursday.

Davis was from Colorado.

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