Families relieved that balloonists’ bodies found at sea
Months after their gas balloon disappeared, remains of Richard Abruzzo and co-pilot Carol Rymer Davis were found Monday off the coast of Puglia, Italy.
Louis and Benny Abruzzo, brothers of the New Mexico balloonist, issued a statement saying they “hope and pray that the discovery today will give Richard’s wife Nancy, his children and our families peace since Richard may now be brought home to his final rest. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Carol’s husband John and his family.”
An Italian fishing boat on Monday pulled the remains of the two American balloonists from the Adriatic Sea, ending a two-month hunt for the pair’s bodies in one of ballooning’s darkest chapters.
Deb Fowler, operations director for the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum Foundation, said they are working with the families and the city of Albuquerque to organize a special tribute.
“Trust me when I say that there will be some sort of event in addition to the tribute held several weeks ago, and tree planting ceremony held last week,” Fowler said.
And from Denver:
“The family is relieved that they have been able to find the balloon and recover the remains of both Carol and Richard. At least now there is certainty,” said Rymer Davis’ brother-in-law, Drew Davis.
Rymer Davis, a partner in Diversified Radiology of Colorado, thrived on challenges. Before she was 18, she had climbed all of Colorado’s fourteeners.
She was a competitive ski racer, and, at one point, an amateur handball player whose game was “high-level,” said Drew Davis.
She fell in love with ballooning in 1972, when she and her husband, John Davis IV, lived in Albuquerque, home of the annual Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.
Carol Rymer Davis, left, and Richard Abruzzo launch their craft in the Gordon Bennett Gas Balloon Race in Bristol, England, on Sept. 25. (Associated Press file photo)
An Italian fishing boat caught this balloon gondola in its net Monday in the Adriatic Sea. Champion U.S. racers Carol Rymer Davis, 65, a Denver radiologist, and Richard Abruzzo, 47, of Albuquerque went missing in the area during a competition Sept. 29 amid stormy and windy skies. (Donato Fasano, The Associated Press)