Accident Roziere Balloon aka 'Free Life' N2079, Sunday 20 September 1970
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Date:Sunday 20 September 1970
Type:Silhouette image of generic BALL model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Roziere Balloon aka 'Free Life'
Registration: N2079
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Aircraft missing
Location:Atlantic Ocean 400 miles SE of Newfoundland -   Atlantic Ocean
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Fireplace Road, Springs, East Hampton, New York
Destination airport:France
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
The balloon was launched from George Sid Miller's pasture on Fireplace Road in Springs, East Hampton, New York on September 20, 1970. The weather was perfect; families picnicked and partied; the giant yellow, white and orange balloon, seven stories tall, was spectacular; spirits were high, and the 1,500 well-wishers seemed to share a sense of participating in something extraordinary, cheering their ascent.

Disaster struck 30 hours after launch. A hot-air mechanism designed to maintain the balloon’s altitude at night failed on the second day of the flight. When the balloon encountered a high-altitude cold front and a severe rainstorm, they were forced to ditch in the Atlantic that night, about 400 miles southeast of Newfoundland. On September 21 came the last message from the Free Life. "We are ditching," it said. "We request search and rescue." The balloon went down in stormy seas off Newfoundland. Three Coast Guard cutters, a Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft and six United States Air Force and United States Coast Guard aircraft scoured the area for 14 days. A few items from the balloon gondola were spotted, but the rescue effort was unsuccessful.

All three on board perished. The 3 passengers were Rod Anderson, Pamela Brown and Malcolm Brighton. In October 1972 Pamela Brown was memorialized with the opening of the Pamela Brown Auditorium, the first and largest theater in the newly built Actors Theatre of Louisville complex.

A book commemorating the attempt was published in 1994 by writer and balloonist Anthony Smith. Entitled "The Free Life: The Spirit of Courage, Folly and Obsession", the book was awarded the W.W. Norton & Co. thirteenth Annual Editors' Book Award. Smith was not present at the launch of the balloon in 1970, but he had taught Brighton to fly, and he had flown with him more frequently than anyone else.

Eight years later, the Double Eagle II, a helium balloon similar to the Free Life, successfully crossed the Atlantic, landing near Paris on Aug. 17, 1978, more than 137 hours after setting off from Presque Isle, Maine.

Registration N2079 formally cancelled by the FAA on January 14 1972


2. NTSB Identification: NYC71DHJ10
3. FAA:


Revision history:

05-Dec-2018 08:10 Nomann Added
06-Sep-2022 22:42 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]

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