LA CENTER, Wash. -- A La Center man who ran into problems in a lawn chair carried by balloons, landed 40 feet up in a tree near the Lewis River in Washington.
Joe Barbera was spending his 60th birthday dreaming big by going after two world records. He was trying to go 268 miles, a new distance record. He was also going for the duration record: 13 and a half hours in the air.
Barbera started experiencing problems Saturday morning when many of the 100 balloons he was using to get his lawn chair in the air popped.
He couldn't get enough lift, so he ditched most of his equipment, including oxygen, supplies and even his shoes.
Barbera took off around 7:30 a.m. Saturday. His flight crew, which was made up of his friends, spent the last 15 days putting his lawn chair rig together.
At one point the chair made it to 20,000 feet, which was problematic because Barbera had no oxygen. He planned on trying to make it over the Cascades but after his chair started slowly dropping, landing safe became Barbera and his team's new priority.
Barbera lost radio contact for a short time while drifting toward the Columbia Gorge area. Just before noon on Saturday, Barbera's wife, Kim, learned he landed in the tree.
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