Divers join search for balloonists

2010-10-02 17:25

Rome - Scuba divers have joined in the search efforts for two American balloonists who went missing in the Adriatic Sea, but searchers say that hope of finding them alive is fading.

Veteran pilots Richard Abruzzo and Carol Rymer Davis were participating in the 54th Gordon Bennett Gas Balloon Race when contact was lost on Wednesday.

Race organisers said the two plunged toward the Adriatic Sea at 80km/h and likely didn't survive.

The Italian Coast Guard said a group of eight divers equipped with underwater cameras had searched in the Adriatic on Saturday.

But Lieutenant Massimo Maccheroni said "hopes of finding them alive after four days at sea are close to zero".

Maccheroni did not say when the search would be called off, but said "we are close to the limit".