Branson's pickle

January 17, 1997

Richard Branson may have survived the premature end to his round-the-world ballooning bid, but there was no such luck for equipment from the University of East Anglia's school of environmental science's climatic research unit.

They had Pounds 12,000 of equipment on board - a compressor system and 24 metal flasks to take air samples at about 30,000 feet, allowing them to examine ozone depleting chemicals.

They still have not heard what happened to their equipment, but there seems no chance that it survived to provide scientific measurements of the temporary deflation of the bearded entrepreneur's ego. Unit director Trevor Davies confirmed that the equipment had been jettisoned as ballast.

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