March 19th, 2012
11:40 AM ET

Crews search for balloonist who fell from 17,000 feet amid storm

Search-and-rescue teams were conducting an aerial and ground search Monday for a missing hot air balloonist who crashed in Georgia three days earlier.

At least seven helicopters and planes were in the air and more than 100 people were on the ground looking for Ed Ristaino of North Carolina, Ben Hill County Sheriff Bobby McLemore said.

Teams made up of state patrol officers, forestry units, neighboring sheriff's department personnel, and other volunteers were scouring areas east of Fitzgerald in south-central Georgia, where it is believed the balloon basket went down.

The search was not easy, McLemore said.

"It's majority pines out there with underbrush, some hardwood bottoms, really just a lot of vegetation," he said. "It's more woods than anything - we don't have a lot of open areas."

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Filed under: Georgia • U.S.
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. PEDO BEAR

    He really wanted that Klondike Bar!

    March 19, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  2. AMERICA 1st

    I bet he aint goin joyriding anymore!

    March 19, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  3. BRONCOS WIN!!!!!!!!!!!

    Who cares! The wife and I just saw Manning exit DIA!!!

    March 19, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  4. AMERICA 1st

    Maybe if he woulda had on a red cape n boots, he wouldnt have fell to the ground!

    March 19, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  5. Superman

    If we were meant to fly would we of been born with wings? What a trip that would of been

    March 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Superman

    Would of been a good time to have a nice jeanie in a bottle with you , but for me a nice tight bodied twink

    March 19, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. CenTexan©

    What a way to go...poor guy

    March 19, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Portland tony

    Good God, you would have thought a locator beacon should be standard equipment. Or a cell phone they could ping off if the owner was incapacitated. Lot of hot air at sea level .....not to much at 17k ft.

    March 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sofa King

    Oh, I'm sure he's just fine.

    March 19, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. raven

    I got the willies when I read this. Ever have that nightmare of falling? I have. Hope they at least can recover him. His poor family.

    March 19, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      Almost as creepy as the running nightmares, when your legs don't work and you're being chased.

      March 19, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Savior

    Falling to my death is a big fear of
    Mine but beats burning to death
    My thoughts are with him and his
    Family

    March 19, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ANDRE HIMES

    The hiphop nation which glorified black on black violence had been summon against BLACK AMERICA by the white feminists (WITCHES and by those whites who have a long history of embracing white supremacy and it was this act as well as the wide spread use of racial profiling which targeted BLACK AMERICANS who were arrested and were either martyred within the prison system or deported to AFRICA is what has contributed to the black holocaust 1968-2001. M ean while new demonic black america has arisen from both the antebellum and hiphop nations and is based on stereotypical images of low class , 'poverty stricken and criminallly prone blacks has replace the black human population in AMERICA and in AFRICA

    March 19, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. banasy©

    Condolences to his family.

    March 19, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    You can't breathe over 10,000 feet, without a assisted breathing. Skydivers don't even skydive over 12,000 feet

    March 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • lordpet

      People have climbed Everest without oxygen

      March 19, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mary

    @ We Todd Did
    Is it really necessary to be tactless when correcting someone?

    March 19, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
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