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Pilots in Helium-Filled Balloon Land Safely in Mexico After 7,000 Miles

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Two pilots in a helium-filled balloon landed safely off the coast of Mexico on Saturday after a nearly 7,000-mile long trip across the Pacific Ocean. The pilots landed off Baja California about 300 miles north of Cabo San Lucas, greeted by a team of balloon enthusiasts who assisted with the landing. The pilots came in low and dropped thick trailing ropes into the ocean to help slow the balloon before setting down in a controlled water landing.

The trip shattered two long-standing records for ballooning. Troy Bradley of Albuquerque and Leonid Tiukhtyaev of Russia beat what's considered the "holy grail" of ballooning achievements, the 137-hour duration record in the first balloon flight across the Atlantic. They also easily exceeded the distance record of 5,209 miles set during the first trans-Pacific flight in 1981.

Troy Bradley of New Mexico and Leonid Tiukhtyaev of Russia set off from Saga, Japan, shortly before 6:30 a.m. JST Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015, in their quest to pilot their helium-filled balloon from Japan to North America and break two major records en route. Tsuyoshi Ogushi / Two Eagles Baloon Team via AP

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— The Associated Press