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Indian tycoon sets balloon altitude record

BOMBAY, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- A 67-year-old textile tycoon in India set a new world's altitude record of 69,852 feet in a hot air balloon Saturday over Bombay.

Vijaypat Singhania, CEO of textile giant Raymond Group, took three hours to reach the height in a pressurized aluminum capsule beneath a 160-foot balloon. It took half that time for the multi-colored nylon balloon to descend, the BBC said.

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A band played and hundreds of people watched as Singhania's balloon took off, and national television carried live coverage of the voyage. The air temperature fell to minus 135 Fahrenheit during the ascent.

The previous record of 64,997 feet was set by Per Lindstrand in Plano, Texas, in June 1988.

Singhania is the only Indian to have won the aviation sports gold medal from the Federation Aeronautique Internationale that ratifies aviation records, for a 24-day world air race covering 21,000 miles in 1994.

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